Neil Gorsuch took the oath of office to become the United States’ 113th Supreme Court justice Monday, taking the seat vacated by late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch participated in two swearing-in ceremonies in the morning. During the first, he took the constitutional oath in a closed-door private ceremony. Later, he took the judicial oath in the White House Rose Garden.
“We are gathered here today for a truly momentous occasion in our democracy. The swearing-in of a United States Supreme Court justice,” President Donald Trump said during a speech ahead of Gorsuch’s public ceremony.
Trump said Gorsuch’s swearing-in is part of the “process of reviewing, and renewing, and also rebuilding, our country.”
“A new optimism is sweeping across our land, and a new faith in America is filling our hearts and lifting our sights,” Trump said. “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.”
After being sworn in by Justice Anthony Kennedy, Gorsuch thanked his family, friends, colleagues, Congress and the White House staff for supporting him through the nomination process.
“To the American people, I am humbled by the trust placed in me today. I will never forget that to whom much is given, much will be expected. And I promise you that I will do all my power’s permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great nation. Thank you,” Gorsuch said.
During both ceremonies, Gorsuch, 49, took the oath with his hand on a family Bible held by his wife, Louise. All justices were in attendance for the ceremony, along with their spouses. The widow and son of Scalia were also present. Scalia died in February 2016.
The Senate on Friday voted 54-45 to confirm Gorsuch after Democrats filibustered his nomination. Republicans used the so-called “nuclear option” to confirm Gorsuch.
Gorsuch is expected to cast a vote in a number of high-profile cases, such as the case Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. vs. Pauley, in which a Missouri Lutheran preschool that was denied state funds to improve a playground due to a law prohibiting the government to aid schools with religious connections.
Gorsuch is also expected to vote on Maslenjak vs. United States, a case in which an ethnic Serb from Bosnia was revoked her U.S. citizenship for lying about how she came to the United States.