Senate Confirms Neil Gorsuch to US Supreme Court
The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Friday after a rule change in the legislative body on Thursday made it impossible for Democrats to filibuster the nomination.
In 2005, with the Senate under GOP control, Republicans prepared to utilize the "nuclear option" to remove the filibuster for lower-court nominees.
Gorsuch's confirmation was all-but-assured on Thursday, when Republicans cleared the way for him by overcoming a historic Democratic blockade and changing the rules of the Senate. It is unclear if Trump will have any future nominations to the top court, but two judges - Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg - are 80 or older, while Stephen Breyer is rapidly approaching that milestone. Meanwhile an Orthodox Union official described Gorsuch's record as "encouraging" and said his rulings "show a jurisprudential approach that venerates religious conscience and pluralism in American society".
UPDATE (12:03 p.m.): The Senate has confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
"I applaud the U.S. Senate, and specifically Arkansas Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, for confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court".
Under normal circumstances, nominees are required to get at least 60 Senators to support their confirmation - the new procedure allows Mr Gorsuch and future Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes.
"The practical result of where we are now is we're back to where we were as late as 2000", said McConnell, pointing out that even Clarence Thomas got onto the court without a filibuster, despite highly contentious confirmation hearings regarding sexual harassment claims from Anita Hill.
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"He's going to make an incredible addition to the court", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.
After he is sworn in, Gorsuch will restore the court's conservative voting majority that existed before Scalia's death, and which could persist for years or even grow over the course of Trump's administration.
"I think this was a sad day for the Senate, and each party has a deeply felt sense of grievance".
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said of the rules change that won approval: "It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court a more partisan place".
Although Scalia died in February 2016, when Barack Obama still had 11 months left in office, congressional Republicans took the unusual step of refusing to consider his nominee, moderate Judge Merrick Garland. In exit polls 21 percent of voters called Supreme Court appointments "the most important factor" in their vote, and among those people 56 percent voted for Trump. If the justices are divided 4 to 4 in any of them, the most likely route to breaking a ties would be to schedule a new round of arguments, with Gorsuch participating. And on that he prevailed on a 52-48 party-line vote. And in many ways the showdown had been pre-ordained, the final chapter in years of partisan warfare over judicial nominees.
During his time on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch joined an opinion siding with closely held corporations who believed that the so-called contraceptive mandate of Obamacare violated their religious beliefs. Instead McConnell kept Scalia's seat open, a calculation that is now paying off for Republicans and Trump.
Gorsuch was the youngest Supreme Court nominee since Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1991 picked Clarence Thomas, who was 43 at the time.
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