The filibuster led by the Senate Democrats was ultimately futile when the Republicans retaliated by triggering the nuclear option to end the bitter battle over Scalia’s vacant seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court Justice in a 54 to 45 vote last Friday. Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th Justice on Monday in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court followed by a public ceremony at the White House. Gorsuch’s successful appointment marks the Trump administration’s biggest accomplishment to date with the additional bragging rights of managing it within the administration’s first 100 days. This appointment preserves the Court’s conservative majority and with Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy in their late 70s or above, the possibility of cementing a solid 6-3 majority might not be a just pipe dream for President Trump.
Gorsuch will have little time off before his work on the bench begins. He will join the rest of the Justices for conference later this week as they decide which cases to add to the Court’s docket for the October term. Next week, he will join the Court as they hear oral argument on some of the cases currently up on the merits, including Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, where Gorsuch is expected to provide the deciding vote. Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review at the Cato Institute, told FOX Business, “Based on how solicitous Judge Gorsuch has been of religious liberty, I would expect him to side with the church.”
On the lighter side, Gorsuch’s appointment also marks the first time a former law clerk has served with one of the justices he worked with. As the most junior justice, Gorsuch will also acquire a few unique duties from Justice Kagan until a new justice is sworn in. The Supreme Court operates primarily on seniority, to the extent that during conference the Chief Justice speaks first followed by each justice in order of seniority with the most junior also being responsible for taking notes of the proceedings. Not only will Gorsuch be the last one to speak, he will also be solely responsible for answering the door. Gorsuch will also take over as the Justices’ representative at the monthly cafeteria committee meetings which determines the food served on the Supreme Court grounds. A frozen yogurt machine was installed during Kagan’s time on the cafeteria committee so Gorsuch may have some big shoes to fill off the bench as well.