Gorsuch confirmed to Supreme Court

Neil Gorsuch, the 49-year-old federal judge nominated by President Donald Trump as supreme court justice, was confirmed to the life-long position on Friday, restoring a conservative majority to the nine-member United States 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". Democrats Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined Republicans in voting for Gorsuch. GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has been recovering from back surgery, did not vote.

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.

Judge Gorsuch may be qualified to sit on the high court, but he is on the verge of elevation only because of the rank political maneuvering of McConnell and his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

Republicans exulted in the victory.

Gov. Dannel Malloy was as irritated as Murphy: "This is a sad day for American democracy", he said.

Democrats and some Republicans predicted dire fallout from McConnell's divisive Senate rules change that removed the 60-vote filibuster barrier for Supreme Court picks, and they warned of a more polarized Senate and court over time. Many Republicans bemoaned reaching that point, too, but they blamed Democrats for pushing them to it.

"He's an exceptional choice, and I'm very much looking forward to confirming him today", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said ahead of the vote.

Utah's senators both expressed support for the nomination.

Neil Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 21. Hatch had previously spoken on the Democrats' threat to filibuster the nomination.

Gorsuch's confirmation means that the court will return to the ideological equilibrium it held before Scalia's death, with four conservatives, four liberals, and Justice Anthony Kennedy as a swing vote.

"To Judge Gorsuch and his family - congratulations", said Gardner after the vote.

"Serving on the U.S. Supreme Court requires more than education and experience, and I am extremely concerned that Judge Gorsuch's judicial approach is out of step with mainstream American values", he continued.

Gorsuch would appear to bring a "textualist" approach to the court, strictly following the language of the law, not far from Scalia's "originalist" view of the Constitution. 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.

  • Larry Hoffman