Tim Goeglein, Focus on the Family’s vice president of external and government relations in our Washington D.C. office, had the privilege of being a guest for the swearing-in of Judge Neil Gorsuch as the newest member of the United States Supreme Court. Here are his reflections. – J.D.
Today was the most beautiful day of the year in Washington. The skies were blue; the birds were singing; the spring tulips were in full bloom on the South Lawn of The White House; it was a festive occasion as the newest member of the Supreme Court prepared to take his seat at the high bench.
There are now nine justices again with important cases yet to be heard this term, including a very important religious liberty case.
I believe Neil Gorsuch will make a superb justice. He is, by nature, genial, magnanimous, eloquent, erudite, and wears his great-learning lightly. His humility and light wit are so refreshing.
One of the best moments of being there was witnessing how he held-up for special honor his wife and his two daughters. Justice Gorsuch has found other occasions to do that, most notably the night he was formally announced at The White House and on the first day of his Senate hearings which I attended.
It is a relative rarity in Washington DC to have senior members of all three branches of the federal government together in the same geographical space, and today was one of those great moments:
All the members of the Supreme Court were there, and some with their spouses; a number of members of the U.S. Senate attended, including members of the Judiciary Committee; and it was an honor to have both the President and the Vice President there as Justice Gorsuch was formally sworn-in by Justice Anthony Kennedy. This is the first time in American history where a former Supreme Court law clerk, Gorsuch, will serve on the high court with the same justice for whom he clerked, Kennedy.
Justice Gorsuch is 49 years old; Justice Kennedy is 81. Mr. Gorsuch is the youngest member to join the court since Justice Clarence Thomas did so a little more than 25 years ago.
After President Trump welcomed us, and the United States Marine Band’s beautiful music faded to its close, the simple and elegant swearing-in took place. The new justice offered a few short remarks, and we went to The White House East Room for a light reception. On the way, I congratulated Justice Gorsuch and his wife Louise who during the ceremony held a beautiful Bible on which her husband took the oath.
The peaceful ascension of the newest member of the court is something we can never take for granted; it is a testament to the greatness of the United States Constitution and a marvelous Providence Who watches over our great country with such generosity and tenderness.