Judge Neil Gorsuch took the first of two oaths to be sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice Monday, having survived a grueling confirmation process where he faced Democrats still angry over Republicans’ blockade of former President Barack Obama’s nominee last year.
Gorsuch took the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Supreme Court’s Justice’s Conference Room. That oath will be followed by a public ceremony at the White House where Justice Anthony Kennedy – Gorsuch’s former boss – will administer the Judicial Oath.
Gorsuch takes the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February last year, and whom Gorsuch has been compared favorably to by conservatives hopeful for another originalist on the court.
Gorsuch is likely to cast a deciding vote in a number of high-profile cases, which in part explains the terse and partisan hearing the 49-year-old faced. The high stakes led Republicans to trigger the “nuclear option” last week to kill the 60-vote filibuster threshold for Supreme Court nominees.