Neil Gorsuch was sworn in Monday as the newest member of the Supreme Court, filling the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. He was confirmed by the Senate last week following a controversial rule change by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Gorsuch took took separate constitutional and judicial oaths — the latter at a public swearing-in ceremony at the White House Rose Garden — to become the nation’s 113th justice.
“You’re now entrusted with the sacred duty of defending our Constitution,” a beaming President Trump said while introducing Gorsuch. “I have no doubt you will rise to the occasion and the decisions you will make will not only protect our Constitution today, but for many generations of Americans to come.”
Trump thanked McConnell, who was not at the ceremony, “for all that he did to make this achievement possible.”
The president also took the opportunity to declare that a “new optimism is sweeping across our land” — and to boast that he was able to get Gorsuch confirmed within his first 100 days in office.
“Spring is really the perfect backdrop for this gathering of friends,” Trump said, “because together we are in a process of reviewing and renewing and also rebuilding our country.”
The 49-year-old Colorado native thanked Trump, who nominated Gorsuch on Jan. 31, for showing “confidence” in him.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom Gorsuch once clerked for, administered the judicial oath.
It’s the first time a justice has served alongside a former law clerk on the high court — something Trump thought was especially “good.”
“It shows you have a lot of respect,” Trump said to Gorsuch.
The newest justice said his appointment to the Supreme Court “has…