Republicans take control of the Supreme Court

Republicans have invoked the "nuclear option" in the US Senate, unilaterally rewriting the chamber's rules to allow President Donald Trump's nominee to ascend to the Supreme Court.

The rules change came after Senate Democrats successfully blocked his nomination with the filibuster in place.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer indicated, however, that Democrats meant to follow through on their filibuster pledge, having gathered more than the 41 votes they need to mount the effort.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer pointed the finger at Republicans, but said he took "no solace" in blaming his political rivals because the consequences of the change will be so dramatic.

Gorsuch, a 49-year-old Denver-based judge who sits on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, is expected to be confirmed Friday-by a simple majority.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee", Mr McConnell said.

Republicans needed 60 votes - at least eight Democrats and independents joining the 52-seat majority - to end debate on the nomination and proceed to a final vote. In a vote of 55 to 45, all but four Democrats voted to support a filibuster of the nomination, leading to the GOP rules change.

Democrats aren't just protesting the choice of Gorsuch; they're reeling from Senate Republicans' refusal to consider Obama's choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia last February. He has the votes to pass the nuclear option, including McCain's. "In the future, if there are other vacancies on the supreme court, during Trump's presidency, he will have an easier time getting an appointment that suits his point of view on policy because filibuster won't be an option", Woolpert said. The Republican-controlled Senate bucked precedent and refused to hold hearings on Garland in Obama's previous year in office.

Gorsuch could end up serving for decades and Trump may gain more influence on the court - which has three of the current justices aged 78 and over. "Unfortunately, it has brought us to this point", McConnell said leading up the rule change.

  • Salvatore Jensen