WASHINGTON — Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court Monday, taking the seat that was once occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia nearly 14 months after his death.
Justice Anthony Kennedy swore in the 49-year-old Colorado native during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, making him the first justice to serve alongside one of his former law clerks.
“That’s sort of a big deal, isn’t it?” Donald Trump joked to an audience that included other Supreme Court justices.
“We are gathered here today for a truly momentous moment for our democracy — the swearing in of a Supreme Court justice,” Trump said. “It’s a privilege to have you here for this historic moment on a spring day in the Rose Garden. Spring is the perfect backdrop for this because we are in the process of rebuilding and renewing, and a new optimism is sweeping across our land.”
“Although he could not be here today, I’d like to express our gratitude to Mitch McConnell for all that he did to make this day possible,” he added. “We are here to celebrate history. I’ve always heard that the most important thing that a United States president does is appoint people, and this is a great honor. And I got it done in the first 100 days. You think that’s easy?”
“Americans are blessed to have Neil Gorsuch. In Justice Gorsuch, they see a man of great and unquestioned integrity. They see a man of unmatched qualifications. They see a man who is deeply faithful to the Constitution of the United States.”
“Justice Gorsuch, you are now entrusted with the sacred duty of defending our Constitution. Our country is counting on you to be wise, impartial and fair. I have no doubt that you will rise to the occasion, and that the decision you will make will not only protect our Constitution today, but for many generations of Americans to come.”
As Gorsuch took the stage, he thanked his family and his colleagues.
“I see before me so many that I owe so much,” Gorsuch said. “I would not be here today without your friendship or support. I want to thank the president for nominating me, and the great trust he has entrusted in me. It’s not possible to mention here everyone I should mention, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Don McGahn and every person in the White House counsel’s office. I want to thank Kelly Ayotte and my day-to-day team for their humor, their sage advice and their faith as we spent months and so many miles trooping together.”
“This process has reminded me just how outrageously blessed I am.”
“To the Scalia family, I won’t ever forget that the seat I inherit today is the seat of a very, very great man,” he added. “To the American people, I am humbled by the trust placed in me today.”