President Donald Trump has said Neil Gorsuch will be “truly great”, as the Colorado judge took the oath to become a justice on the US Supreme Court.
“And I got it done in the first 100 days,” Mr Trump quipped at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. “You think that’s easy?”
Mr Gorsuch, who was sworn in by Justice Anthony Kennedy, becomes the 113th justice to serve on the high court.
“I am humbled by the trust placed in me today,” he said after taking the oath.
“I will never forget that to whom much is given, much will be expected,” the 49-year-old continued.
Six key cases Gorsuch could rule on
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v Comer – A Missouri church denied state funding for a playground in a case concerning separation of church and state.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission – A Colorado baker appealed who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Peruta v San Diego – Does the second amendment grant California gun owners the right to carry a concealed weapon in public places?
Hernandez v Mesa – The case of a 15-year-old Mexican boy who was on the Mexican side of the border when he was shot dead in 2010 by a US border patrol agent.
“And I promise you to do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the constitution and laws of this great nation.”
Mr Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court comes after a year-long political battle over filling the vacant seat.
It was the longest period a seat has remained unfilled on the Supreme Court since during the American Civil War in 1862.
On Monday morning, Chief Justice John Roberts administered Mr Gorsuch’s first oath, which all federal employees take, at a private ceremony at the Supreme Court.
All eight justices, Mr Gorsuch’s wife and two daughters and Maureen and Eugene Scalia, the widow and son of the justice Gorsuch is replacing, attended the ceremony.
Later at the White House, Justice Kennedy administered a second oath to Mr Gorsuch, who was his former law clerk.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell triggered a legislative manoeuvre known as the “nuclear option” when Republicans lacked the 60 votes required to end debate on Mr Gorsuch.
Republicans hope Mr Gorsuch will hand the bench’s bloc of conservative justices a winning 5-4 majority.
But Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who led the anti-Gorsuch opposition, said the court was “increasingly drifting towards becoming a more pro-corporate court that favours employers, corporations and special interests over working America”.
The result is a triumph for Donald Trump’s young presidency. For many of those who voted for him, securing a conservative judge on America’s highest court was a top priority.
The vacancy on the nine-judge bench had left the justices to pass over many controversial issues, possibly to avoid a 4-4 stalemate.
Mr Gorsuch takes the oath in time to prepare for the court’s next session of oral arguments this month.