Sunday 24 September 2017

Here's what you need to know about new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch

By Catherine Wyatt

Gorsuch will officially be a member of the court once he takes the two oaths on Monday.

The US Senate has confirmed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch in a victory for President Donald Trump.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Supreme Court Justice.

Why is there a new Supreme Court judge?

There are nine judges who sit on the Supreme Court, and they hold the position for life.

Gorsuch is replacing Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

When will he assume the position?

Gorsuch will be sworn in as the 113th justice on Monday in separate ceremonies at the court and the White House.

Justices take two oaths, one required by the Constitution and the other set by federal law.

Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the constitutional oath to Gorsuch in a private ceremony in the justices’ conference room.

Then Justice Anthony Kennedy will ask his former law clerk and new colleague to take the second oath in a public ceremony at the White House.

What happened to the filibuster?

Senate Republicans re-wrote filibuster rules, known as invoking the “nuclear option”, in order to get Gorsuch through.

The nuclear option allowed Gorsuch to be nominated with a simple majority – he was confirmed 54 to 45 in the 100-seat Senate.

Why was there so much arguing?

In part Democrats opposed the nomination because Senate Republicans blocked former president Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland last year. The seat earmarked for Garland is now going to Gorsuch, after Trump was made President.

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