Neil Gorsuch receives enough votes to be confirmed by Senate
- Author: Larry Hoffman Apr 17, 2017,
Apr 17, 2017, 15:39
On Thursday, the US Senate voted to block the nomination in a 55-45 vote, and then offered a motion to postpone the vote until April 24. The three Democratic senators who voted in Gorsuch's favor were: Heidi Keitkamp, ND, Joe Manchin III, W.VA., and Joe Donnelly, IN. GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote. This is an appointment that lasts for as long as the judge is willing to serve and able to serve. "But no, I don't think the nuclear option has any impact". Then McConnell raised a point of order, suggesting that Supreme Court nominees should not be subjected to a 60-vote threshold but instead a simple majority in the 100-member Senate.
"He's going to make an incredible addition to the court".
Like other judges who assemble resumes that make them potential high-profile judicial nominees, Gorsuch mostly avoided weighing in over the course of his career on the bench on the most polarizing issues facing the Supreme Court today.
"So we are charging Judge Gorsuch to be the independent and fair-minded justice that America badly needs".
Also potentially awaiting Gorsuch's decisive vote are six cases that were argued before the end of 2016 and remain unresolved.
Later Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy will ask his former law clerk and new colleague to take the second oath in a public ceremony at the White House. By contrast, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer typically reaches the opposite result in such cases and tends to rule in favor of prosecutors and police.
The outcome was a major victory for Trump, his first big congressional win.
While Both Republicans and Democrats mourn a loss of collegiality, both sides - except for a few Democrats - voted along party lines to support their parties' escalation tactics. He replaces the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who's sudden death in February 2016 sparked a year-long partisan fight over the ideological balance of the court. Gorsuch "believes deeply in neutral, impartial decision-making, and he is deeply committed to a Constitution whose limits on judicial and government power inextricably intertwine with the preservation of human freedom".
Democrats and their liberal allies were desultory after losing not only the confirmation battle but the minority party's right to block high court nominations with 41 votes.
It was one of the rare moments when the president - who was in Florida at Mar-a-Lago as the Senate voted on Friday - was front in center in the nomination process. Were he to be replaced by a Trump-nominated conservative justice, the balance of the court would nearly certainly be tipped in a dramatically more conservative direction, and even Kennedy's own legacy on equality for gays and lesbians could be in jeopardy.
Friday's Senate vote was the final act in a corrosive political confrontation that began with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision immediately after Scalia's death to hold the seat open for the next president to fill, rather than convene hearings for Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
A graduate of Columbia University, Harvard Law School and the University of Oxford, Gorsuch arrived at the Senate with a glamorous pedigree.
He also spent part of his youth in Washington when his mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, served in the Reagan administration as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Though Mr Gorsuch proved evasive when questioned on legal matters during his confirmation hearing, he has a solidly conservative background and is expected to rule accordingly. The rule change was dubbed the "nuclear option" because it was considered an extreme break from Senate tradition.
Justices past and present have said that regardless of a new justice's experience on the lower courts, it is something very different to have the last word, and that it typically takes several years to get used to the breadth of the caseload and that responsibility. "He told us that he's his own man, that no man speaks for him".