President Donald Trump joined many of the nation’s top legal luminaries Thursday to mark one of his administration’s most notable achievements: the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The president and first lady Melania Trump made the trip to the high court for the brief and highly formal investiture of Gorsuch, who was officially sworn in on April 10 and has been sitting on the court since.
The first couple entered the ornate chamber moments before the ceremony began. They sat to the side of the courtroom, in an area typically occupied by former Supreme Court justices and their family members. The only retired justice on hand Thursday was John Paul Stevens, now 97.
With Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveling in Europe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein presented Gorsuch’s official commission to the court.
"The commission has been duly signed by the president of the United States and duly signed by the attorney general of the United States," Rosenstein announced to the justices.
The audience consisted of a "who’s who" of the conservative legal establishment. Among them were former attorneys general, like Edwin Meese, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey, as well as a slew of Republican senators.
The only Democratic lawmaker in attendance appeared to be Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. He said he decided to attend to celebrate the achievements of one of his fellow Colorado residents.
"He’s from Colorado. He’s on the Supreme Court," Bennet told reporters just after the ceremony.
Asked why few Democrats showed up at the event, Bennet did not answer directly but lamented the partisanship surrounding the nomination and that it led to eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.
"I’m worried. I’m very worried," the senator said. "I think it’s a shame the Democrats filibustered. And I think it’s a shame the Republicans responded by invoking the nuclear option."