Senate confirms Trump pick Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

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McConnell vowed that the rules change would block the Gorsuch filibuster, and all future ones, a change many lawmakers lamented could lead to an even more polarized Senate, court and country. After assembling the pledges of 41 Senate Democrats to iniate the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sought to prevent a vote of the full Senate.

"As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction", Trump said in a statement.

He justified the tactic because it was the final year of Obama's presidency and he said the American people should determine who would name the next Supreme Court justice.

Gorsuch's confirmation gave a boost to Trump, showing he can get important agenda items through a Congress controlled by his fellow Republicans after the House of Representatives last month failed to pass healthcare overhaul legislation. "Judge Gorsuch is a strict constitutionalist who believes that a judge's personal policy preferences should not affect the outcome of a case".

With questions on the Syria airstrikes and the Supreme Court, Sen. All 44 Democrats and independents voted against advancing Gorsuch, and for procedural reasons, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cast his vote with them to enable the vote to be reconsidered. Gorsuch will need to hire law clerks; past justices confirmed midterm have hired their own past clerks as well as their predecessor's clerks.

"This is a person of extraordinary credentials who will bring honor to the Supreme Court for many, many years to come".

Gorsuch is filling a vacancy on the high court created by the death more than a year ago by the death on anti-gay justice Antonin Scalia.

But Democrats did leave themselves one notable loophole, allowing future Supreme Court nominees to be denied an up-or-down vote via a partisan filibuster.

Even before he's sworn in, Gorsuch's nomination has altered the course of judicial history, as Senate Republicans changed the rules to get him across the finish line. Many Democrats were still tight over Garland being passed over, as they should be, and noted that Gorsuch was super conservative. McConnell, R-Ky., immediately responded, as expected, by leading his Republicans in a unilateral rules change to lower the vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees from 60 to a simple majority in the 100-member Senate.

The vote was 54 to 45 in favor of confirmation. It passed with the 52 sitting Republican senators voting yes.

All told, the court has 13 remaining cases set for oral argument between April 17 and April 26, the end of the argument season for the term that began last October.

Gorsuch's confirmation is destined to shape the bench just as Trump is seeking approval of a key plank of his political platform: his executive order that halts entry to the United States from citizens of several Muslim-majority nations.


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