Neil Gorsuch Confirmed to Supreme Court After GOP Changed Playing Field

By "going nuclear" - a tactic President Trump suggested Republicans use, if necessary, soon after nominating Gorsuch - they broke the Democratic filibuster, virtually guaranteeing he will be confirmed in a 7 April vote requiring only a simple majority of 51.

Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as the nation's 113th Supreme Court justice is expected today.

Sens. Chris Coons of DE and Susan Collins of ME are calling Senate leaders to leave the legislative filibuster intact following a drawn-out partisan fight over the rules of the chamber that culminated this week in Republicans ending the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

The filibuster, a requirement that 60 senators agree to end debate to allow an actual up-or-down vote, didn't traditionally apply to judicial confirmations.

The drama stretched back almost a year after GOP senators wouldn't consider former President Barack Obama's pick, Merrick Garland, citing a unwritten rule that presidents in their final year don't nominate justices. "It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court a more partisan place".

Gorsuch will be filling the seat of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who unexpectedly passed away last February. Unlike Gorsuch, Johnson's choice was already an associate justice on the Supreme Court.

Obviously enormous credit goes to Mitch McConnell, who properly stood firm against the weight of elite opinion to block Merrick Garland and then expertly executed the nuclear option to guarantee Gorsuch's confirmation.

Many Republicans bemoaned the rule change but blamed Democrats for pushing them to it.

Mr Gorsuch repeated his claims that he respected the precedent set by the Supreme Court in that case and others.

But they are also resentful that Republicans refused past year to even consider former President Barack Obama's choice for the high court. In exit polls, 21 percent of voters called Supreme Court appointments "the most important factor" to their vote, and among those people 56 percent voted for Trump. The move clears the path for president trump's pick judge Neil Gorsuch.

Democrats had been filibustering Gorsuch's nomination for several days before the GOP voted to change the confirmation rules. "Now the nominations for the supreme court can not be filibustered", St. Mary's College Politics Professor Steve Woolpert said. The result largely repeated an initial voting Thursday that failed to confirm his nomination due to filibuster rules. All involved were keenly aware of the long-term implications of the proceedings, some of them hard to predict for the future of Trump's presidency and the 2018 midterm elections, when Republicans will be defending their slim 52-48 Senate majority and 10 vulnerable Democrats in states Trump won will be up for re-election.

  • Larry Hoffman