Colorado native Neil Gorsuch confirmed by Senate to Supreme Court

"The practical result of where we are now is we're back to where we were as late as 2000", said McConnell, pointing out that even Clarence Thomas got onto the court without a filibuster, despite highly contentious confirmation hearings regarding sexual harassment claims from Anita Hill. Gorsuch could be expected to serve for decades, while Trump could make further appointments to the high court to make it even more solidly conservative because three of the eight justices are 78 or older. Gorsuch had initially failed to garner the 60 votes normally required following a Democratic filibuster on Thursday.

In my time in the Senate, I have had the distinct honor of playing a key role in the confirmation of fourteen Supreme Court nominees. Republicans - who control 52 Senate seats - eliminated the filibuster rule in order to move Gorsuch's nomination forward with a simple majority vote. This allowed Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed with a 51-vote majority instead of the previous 60-vote threshold.

Gorsuch will officially be a member of the court once he takes the two oaths.

McConnell had led Republicans in refusing to consider former President Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

Gorsuch's ability to write incisive rulings and his defense of a strict reading of the Constitution have fueled comparisons with Scalia. This isn't just a monumental win for the conservative movement, this is a monumental win for the American people.

Three Democratic senators - Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of IN and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota - joined their Republican colleagues to vote "yes" on Gorsuch's nomination.

"As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution", he said in a statement.

"Judge Gorsuch's confirmation process was one of the most transparent and accessible in history, and his judicial temperament, exceptional intellect, unparalleled integrity and record of independence makes him the ideal choice to serve on the nation's highest court", Trump said, Reuters reported. McConnell told reporters Friday he viewed it as "the most consequential decision I've ever been involved in". The court has the option of hearing fresh arguments, with Gorsuch in a position to cast a potential deciding vote.

The White House said Gorsuch - the youngest nominee in a generation - will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday at 9:00 am (1300 GMT) in a private ceremony.

Judge Gorsuch is viewed as a committed conservative whose beliefs align with the late Scalia, exactly the kind of judge Republicans' meant to place in the ninth Supreme Court seat.

After weeks of hemming, hawing, complaining and posturing, Democratic senators lost their battle Friday to deny Gorsuch his ascension to the judiciary's Mount Olympus - the Supreme Court of the United States.

With an immovable Democratic resistance threatening to derail the nomination of a candidate who, by many metrics, was qualified, Republicans took the extreme step of pursuing the "nuclear option".

There are nine judges who sit on the Supreme Court, and they hold the position for life.

  • Larry Hoffman