President Trump congratulated Neil Gorsuch on being sworn in as a Supreme Court justice in the White House Rose Garden Monday and told the newest justice, "Go get 'em."
"I've always heard that the most important thing that a president of the United States does is appoint people — hopefully great people like this appointment — to the United States Supreme Court," Trump said. "And I got it done in the first 100 days."
Trump thanked several Republican senators who helped usher his Supreme Court pick through the confirmation process, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who he praised for conducting "a fair and professional confirmation."
"Spring is really the perfect backdrop for this joyful gathering of friends, because together we are in a process of renewing and ... also rebuilding our country," the president told the crowd of lawmakers, senior White House aides and current Supreme Court justices.
Gorsuch, a former law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, fills the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch praised Scalia and acknowledged the late justice's family in brief remarks on Monday after Kennedy administered the oath.
"I cannot tell you how honored I am today to have my mentor Justice Kennedy to administer the judicial oath, a very beautiful oath, as he did 11 years ago," Gorsuch said. "This process has reminded me how outrageously blessed I am."
The high court has been without a ninth justice for more than a year as the result of partisan bickering over the empty slot. After Republicans refused to hold a hearing or vote on former President Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, Democrats sought to thwart President Trump's pick, Gorsuch, via a filibuster.
Senate Republicans, acting as the majority, changed the rules of Congress' upper chamber to lower the vote threshold required to confirm Gorsuch from 60 votes to 51 votes late last week. Gorsuch was confirmed on Friday, with three Democrats joining Republicans in support.
"This is a good thing for the next opening," said Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union, which worked closely with the White House throughout the nomination process.
"I can't tell you how impressed we are with the consistent contact with them. I just have great confidence that if there happens to be another opening, Donald Trump is going to follow the same strategy he did on this one," Schlapp told the Washington Examiner.
Gorsuch will be seated on the court before it next begins hearing oral arguments April 17.