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Neil Gorsuch: new robed wonder

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Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden April 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden April 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Courtesy of Olivier Douliery

Courtesy of Olivier Douliery

Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden April 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

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After over a year with a vacant seat in one of the United States’ most powerful institutions, the Supreme Court welcomed Neil Gorsuch as its newest justice on April 10.

“As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution,” President Donald Trump said.

Gorsuch was sworn in by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Gorsuch had once clerked for. Gorsuch’s arrival on the Court marks the first time that a sitting justice will serve with a justice who once worked for him, according to the New York Times.

“I cannot tell you how honored I am to have here today my mentor, Justice Kennedy, to administer the judicial oath, a beautiful oath, as he did for me 11 years ago when I became a circuit judge,” Gorsuch said.

Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia. The Supreme Court played a major role in the presidential election, with an NBC poll showing that 70 percent of voters said that the Supreme Court appointment was an important factor in their decision.

“Trump released a list during his campaign of possible Supreme Court picks, and Gorsuch was on that list. He was seen as a conservative judge who was in the mold of Scalia and could carry on his work,” civics teacher Bonnie McCarthy said.

Only three of the Democrats in the Senate voted for Gorsuch, citing President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland as part of the reason for their opposition, according to the New York Times. Senate Republicans denied Garland a confirmation hearing, saying they would wait until after the election.

“When they had a consensus person with Merrick Garland, every single Republican who raised their hand and solemnly swore before God to uphold the Constitution refused to follow the Constitution and even have a hearing,” Senate Democrat Patrick Leahy said.

The Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and can declare legislation and executive actions unconstitutional. Supreme Court justices have no term limits, so 49-year-old Neil Gorsuch may serve for 30 years or more.

“When Scalia was appointed he served for 30 years before he passed away, and Gorsuch, being a very young Justice, has the potential to also serve for a very long time and influence policy in the future. There are two other Justices who are getting near the age of retirement or death, so Trump may have the ability to appoint more judges,” McCarthy said.

Interpreting the constitution will not be the only item on Gorsuch’s agenda. His new position also entails note taking and serving on the Supreme Court’s cafeteria committee.

“Whenever there’s a new Supreme Court justice, they sort of haze them,” McCarthy said. “They have to get the door whenever anyone knocks and they take notes during all the meetings.”

Gorsuch will take on several new responsibilities as the Supreme Court’s newest justice, from answering the door to defining the Constitution.

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Neil Gorsuch: new robed wonder