Neil Gorsuch was officially officially sworn in as the Supreme Court’s newest justice Thursday, with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visiting the court for the first time to witness the investiture of his nominee.
Gorsuch joined the court on April 10, and he already took oaths both at the court and at the White House. But the short and formal investiture follows a historic script, comes before a courtroom filled with family, friends and supporters, and culminates in the public debut of the new justice on the Supreme Court’s marble steps.
At the ceremony, the president is seen but not heard, and Trump followed that tradition. The Trumps sat with 97-year-old retired justice John Paul Stevens. But they also met privately with the justices beforehand, and signed the court’s visitor book.
The court was also filled with White House and Justice Department officials, Republican former attorneys general and GOP senators who played a role in Gorsuch’s confirmation.
But no business was conducted during the six-minute ceremony. “I want to extend to you and the first lady a warm welcome,” Roberts told Trump from the bench.
As has each new justice since 1972, Gorsuch sat in a mahogany and leather chair used by Chief Justice John Marshall from 1819 to 1835. When he was called forward to the bench, the 49-year-old Coloradan shook hands with each of his now-familiar colleagues. Earlier this week, he delivered his first Supreme Court opinion.
The oath, by now, is also familiar to Gorsuch, and he ended with an emphatic “So. Help. Me. God.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Robert Barnes