Gorsuch pledges to be 'servant' of Constitution

Justin Greene
April 11, 2017

Following a controversial process which culminated in the Senate voting 54-45 to confirm, Neil Gorsuch was officially sworn in Monday morning as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON - Surrounded by family and his soon-to-be Supreme Court colleagues, Neil Gorsuch took the first of two oaths on Monday as he prepared to take his seat on the court and restore its conservative majority.

Gorsuch will take his place as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court. It is to consider how the court would have been reshaped by President Barack Obama's pick for the same seat, Judge Merrick B. Garland.

His nomination to a life term marked President Donald Trump's first opportunity to shape for a generation a court that is the ultimate arbiter of numerous most contentious issues in American life. It saw Senate Republicans trigger the "nuclear option" to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold for all future high court nominees. He is well aware that if he can coax Kennedy off the bench, he can grant conservatives control over the court indefinitely.

In Justice Gorsuch, Trump said, Americans see a man of great and unquestioned integrity, they see a man of unmatched qualifications and most of all, and most importantly, they see a man who is deeply faithful to the Constitution of the US. Gorsuch placed his hand on the family Bible held by his wife, Louise.

Gorsuch, whose confirmation returns the high court to its normal nine-member makeup, will soon have an opportunity to rule in an important religious liberty case.

But he still faced significant skepticism from conservatives and real questions about whether defections on the right would doom him as a general election candidate. Trump may be able to make further appointments to make the court even more solidly conservative, with three justices 78 or older: Ginsburg, 84; fellow liberal Stephen Breyer, 78; and conservative swing vote Kennedy, 80.

Two hours later at the White House, Gorsuch will take his constitutional oath as a federal employee from Justice Anthony Kennedy, the longest-serving current justice, who employed Gorsuch as a law clerk almost a quarter-century ago.

In the months since Trump chose him after a private interview, Gorsuch has been introduced on Capitol Hill by Kelly Ayotte, the New Hampshire senator who lost her reelection bid last November.

But the Missouri Department of Natural Resources denied the request, arguing that the state constitution prohibited funding of religious organisations.

The partisan duel over Gorsuch was the latest in a contentious, three-decades-long battle over Supreme Court nominees.

Gorsuch will become the first justice to serve alongside a former boss. He vowed to choose from the combined list, recommended separately by The Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society, in naming Supreme Court justices.

The Supreme Court has already heard oral arguments in the case but the justices did not reach any conclusion.

He also thanked by name Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, both of whom fended off Democrats' multiple attempts to derail his nomination.

Gorsuch is getting sworn into his new post twice today.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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