Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch to serve as Supreme Court justice

With almost all Democrats voting against confirmation, the Senate voted along party lines to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court confirmations so Gorsuch could be confirmed with only 54 senators supporting him. "When Tester had to pick a side, he chose his radical colleagues over Montanans-and voters will remember that", NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin warned in the statement. The confirmation ends what has been a dramatic showdown in the Senate between Republicans and Democrats.

The vote was 54-45 on Friday. "The Senate did its job and I look forward now to seeing Judge Gorsuch on the court".

The Supreme Court says Neil Gorsuch will be sworn in as the 113th justice on Monday in separate ceremonies at the court and the White House. Republicans insisted at the time that it was too close to the election (it was eight months away), which really was unprecedented. Republicans, in turn, defend themselves by arguing that it was Democrats who started the chamber down this road in 2013, when they voted to bar the use of the filibuster for other federal judicial appointments.

What's playing out in Washington this week as Democrats mounted a filibuster that led to the GOP forcing a rule change is a continuation of the tit-for-tat game that has been going on in Washington for 20 years. Not only was Scalia the Supreme Court's leading Second Amendment champion, his was one of only five votes cast in the five- to-four Heller decision, and its five-to-four follow-up, McDonald v. And on and on the finger-pointing goes. "He's also earned plaudits from so many across the political spectrum".

George Washington "had it right" about the Senate, Manchin said. "This is the same government that has a hard time passing spending bills".

With a series of choreographed parliamentary maneuvers, Republicans were able, by majority vote, to abolish the longstanding rule that required 60 votes to cut off debate on a Supreme Court nomination. Some social conservatives opposed or expressed concerns about his nomination because he has not taken a clear position against Roe v. Wade, and has said same-sex "marriage" is "absolutely settled law". Most notably, Justice Clarence Thomas has taken aim repeatedly at what he sees as the ruling's unconstitutional aggrandizement of executive branch agencies. And on that he prevailed on a 52-48 party-line vote. The rule change was dubbed the "nuclear option" because it was considered an extreme break from Senate tradition. He added: "We will regret, at some time, what we're doing". Still, McCain joined all 51 of his Republican colleagues in voting to overturn the filibuster on Thursday.

"This will be the first and last partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nomination", McConnell vowed ahead of Thursday's votes. Democrats' attitudes were nearly exactly opposite, with 62 percent viewing the Court favorably.

Before being appointed to the 10th circuit, Gorsuch was a clerk for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy.

Trump had promised on the campaign trail to nominate a pro-life judge. In the near term, his presence is unlikely to disturb that status quo.

He was the anchor of the Court's conservatives, and became a hero for conservative thinkers and organizations.

For many conservatives, Trump's choice of Gorsuch made up for any number of other weaknesses in his candidacy and his administration. "I'd like to get out of that club", said Graham.

Republicans exulted in the victory.

"A Supreme Court justice, like Judge Gorsuch, who understands and values our founding documents, and hews closely to their meaning will help ensure that all Americans can continue to prosper and that we, as Catholics, remain free in exercising our religious principles", said Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, policy advisor with The Catholic Association. Graham used the moment to explain why he plans to advance legislation banning late-term abortions on pain-capable human babies.

  • Larry Hoffman