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Fourteen months after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court again has its full bench of nine justices with the swearing-in Monday of Neil Gorsuch.
The new justice took two legally required oaths at separate ceremonies.
The first was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts in private at the Supreme Court. Later, fellow Justice Anthony Kennedy administered an oath during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in attendance.
Trump called Gorsuch a “man of integrity, unmatched qualifications and deep devotion to the Constitution” of the United States.
Gorsuch, after being sworn in, vowed to “be a faithful servant to the Constitution and laws of this great nation.”
Trump picked Gorsuch to fill the court vacancy in late January, and last week the U.S. Senate gave its approval after a contentious, partisan confirmation process that ended with a 54-45 vote in the Republican-led chamber.
No Republicans voted against Gorsuch, who served a decade as a federal appeals court judge, while three Democrats supported his confirmation.
With the 49-year-old Gorsuch joining the court, there will once again be a 5-4 conservative majority.
Democratic Senators attempted to use a procedural blockade known as a filibuster to block the confirmation vote, but Republicans countered by changing Senate rules to require only a simple majority to approve Supreme Court nominees.
Many Democrats have been critical of the process to fill the vacancy left by Scalia’s death. Former President Barack Obama tried to appoint Judge Merrick Garland to the seat last year, but Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings, often citing the fact that Obama was in his final year in office and that the choice should go to the winner of the November election.