I had the honor of attending the investiture of Neil Gorsuch yesterday. It was an event steeped in history and the Court’s version of pomp and circumstance. I actually love the Court’s staid and understated style at such moments. The investiture is short and dignified in the courtroom with the reading of his his commission and Gorsuch taking his chair among the nine. President Donald Trump and the First Lady were present as were as array of dignitaries. The investiture was followed by a reception that was incredibly elegant with the justices in my favorite rooms in the Supreme Court with the famous portraits of prior Chief Justices. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein presented the commission to the Court which was read by the Supreme Court Clerk. There was a notable sound of whispers when the commission from Trump mentioned that Gorsuch was entitle to all of the “emoluments” of his office.
In attendance for the investiture were various members including Sen. Jeff Flake who was just in the shooting of Republican members in Alexandria the day before. Also visible were Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, and both Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet of Colorado.
Gorsuch gave a one line response to the greeting from Chief Justice John Roberts and everyone retired to the reception. The rooms of the Supreme Court are beautiful period pieces. Indeed, I enjoyed a conversation with the Chief Justice who told me that the chandeliers (which I mentioned as my favorite part of the rooms) are so old that no one in the United States has the training to clean them. The Court has to bring in experts from abroad. It is worth the expense. These chandaliers are incredible and massive pieces.
For me, the highlight was chatting with former Justice John Paul Stevens about the Cubs and our pitching line up. Stevens is an ardent Cubs fan and, while we should be discussing some deep jurisprudential questions, I never miss an opportunity to take about the Cubbies with the man who saw Babe Ruth hit the called shot.
Gorsuch greeted every single person at the investiture with his signature warmth and friendliness. At the private reception held that evening, he gave a truly touching speech where he thanks his wife and family as well as the many clerks and friends who helped him through this process. I was honored to be invited to the investiture and the two receptions. As I stated in my testimony at the confirmation hearing, Gorsuch is someone who is poised to leave a long and indelible legacy on the Court. This intellect and demeanor makes him an ideal choice for being one of nine.