Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th justice of the United States Supreme Court on Monday afternoon. President Trump announced his nomination of Gorsuch for the Supreme Court in late January.
Prior to his appointment, Gorsuch was a Colorado federal appeals court judge known for his strict conservative views. Gorsuch is filling the seat formerly occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away in 2016. Scalia was known for his originalism and often controversial theory of constitutional interpretation.
Gorsuch's successful appointment is a victory for President Trump, who has faced backlash and opposition to much of his presidential actions thus far, including the widely-criticized travel ban and his failed effort to repeal existing health care law.
Selecting Supreme Court justices is one of the many powers belonging to the executive branch of government; however, when President Barack Obama attempted to fill Scalia's seat in January 2016, he was met with resistance. President Obama selected Judge Merrick B. Garland, another known conservative, to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat; however Senate Republicans refused to consider the nomination on grounds that the incoming president should make the choice.
Gorsuch's confirmation process was an uphill battle as well. Senate Democrats waged a filibuster, blocking any chance of reaching the 60 votes required to put Gorsuch's nomination to a final vote. Republicans responded by invoking the "nuclear option," effectively lowering the requirements for a Supreme Court nomination to a simple majority vote, making it possible for Gorsuch to be confirmed.
At 49, Gorsuch is the youngest Supreme Court justice currently on the bench and the youngest to be confirmed since Clarence Thomas in 1991.
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