Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice today, becoming the 113th jurist to sit on the Court. The process began this morning, with a private swearing-in ceremony at the Court, involving Gorsuch's family and his new Supreme Court colleagues. Gorsuch then crossed the street for a public event in the White House Rose Garden, where he took a second oath administered by Justice Kennedy, for whom he once clerked.
The ceremony, coming after a year-long vacancy and a tumultuous, historic confirmation battle, is just the start of Justice Gorsuch's journey. Now comes the hard stuff: getting up to speed, making his impact felt, and answering the door. Yes, as the junior most justice on the Court, Justice Gorsuch will be responsible for answering the door when the justices meet for conference.
Get the Door, Gorsuch
Answering the door during the Court's conferences is just one of the responsibilities assigned to new justices, as CNN notes -- a sort of hazing for the High Court. When the justices meet for their regular conferences (Gorsuch's first will be this Thursday), there are no clerks, staff, or assistants in attendance, so if there's a knock at the door, the dignified justices must answer it themselves.
That job falls to the Court's newest member, which from 2010 to this morning had been Justice Kagan. Kagan described the tradition during a speech at Princeton in 2014.
"I mean literally," the justice explained, "if there's a knock on the door, and I don't hear it -- there will not be a single other person who will move. They will just all stare at me until I figure out 'oh, I guess somebody knocked on the door.'"
Can You Beat Frozen Yogurt?
Door duty isn't the only job Gorsuch is likely to get tasked with.
The new justice will also be put on the Court's "cafeteria committee," handling the Court's dining options. The Supreme Court cafeteria isn't the most famous eatery in D.C., nor is it the best. (For federally operated mass-dining options, your best bet is the cafe at American Indian Museum.) The Washington Post once said the Court's fare "should be unconstitutional." But Justice Kagan made her mark by adding a frozen yogurt machine, to much fanfare.
Will Gorsuch be able to live up to such a challenge?
- And Now We're Back to Nine... (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- As the Senate Battles Over Gorsuch, the Court Stays Calm and Carries On (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- As Gorsuch Testifies, the Supreme Court Overrules Him (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)