Neil Gorsuch Is Officially Confirmed To the Supreme Court

The Republican led US Senate is poised, on 7 April, to confirm the nomination of conservative appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court, giving Donald Trump his first major victory since taking office. On Thursday, Republicans voted to change the rules of the Senate, allowing for Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed with a simple majority.

The confirmation process was bitter and partisan, especially after the Republican-controlled Senate refused previous year to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, who President Obama nominated for the court.

By eliminating the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have destroyed any incentive for presidents to select high court candidates who are not only qualified and worthy, but who will receive broad support from lawmakers. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) voted yes on Gorsuch's nomination. Sen.

Vice President Mike Pence presided over the Senate during the vote. The change has prompted fears that USA presidents could propose more ideologically extreme judges in future given the need for just a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

Gorsuch was confirmed Friday by the Senate.

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.

Gorsuch's Friday confirmation ends a 14-month vacancy on the court following the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Democrats fired back this week, filibustering Gorsuch as much out of retaliation for Garland as anything else.

But Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement that the Gorsuch confirmation was "an unhappy day to those Americans committed to justice and equality for all".

"We will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court", Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY declared on the Senate floor Thursday.

  • Salvatore Jensen