Neil Gorsuch Sworn in as Supreme Court Justice
Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to the fill the Supreme Court slot left open after the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, was sworn in this morning, becoming the 113th person to serve on the Supreme Court.
Gorsuch was sworn in behind closed doors at the Supreme Court building, the first of two oaths he took today. His wife, Marie Louise Gorsuch, held the family bible as her husband was administered the oath of office during a roughly 10-minute ceremony. Their two daughters were present, as were Justice Antonin Scalia’s widow and all of the justices and their spouses, with the exception of Justice Stephen Breyer.
Justice Anthony Kennedy then administered the second oath of office to Gorsuch in a public ceremony at the White House. President Trump spoke before the oath.
It has taken more than a year of bitter partisan fighting to get to this day. President Obama quickly nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland March 16, 2016, to fill the vacancy. But Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to consider Garland in the Senate, arguing that the next president should choose the nominee.
But many Democrats argued that Gorsuch’s record was too conservative and that he failed to answer key questions about his judicial record during his Senate hearing last month and were still upset over Republicans’ refusal to bring Garland’s nomination up for a vote.
Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate after a bruising fight when McConnell invoked the so-called nuclear option, which allowed Republicans to end debate with a simple majority and subsequently push through the nomination.
He now fills the seat left vacant by the death of conservative Scalia, and the court is back to its previous balance: four conservative, four liberals and Kennedy as the swing vote.
Gorsuch’s first big case will be later in the week when the Supreme Court takes up a case about government funding and religious organizations.
Another thing to watch? Those challenges to Trump’s travel ban, which could very well end up at the Supreme Court.
Gorsuch, 49, was a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. He clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He attended Harvard Law and has a Ph.D. from Oxford, where he was a Marshall scholar.
ABC News’ Mary Bruce and Audrey Taylor contributed to this report.