Senate Republicans Change the Rules to Confirm Trump's Judicial Nominee

The Senate confirmed judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Friday in a mostly party-line 54-45 vote that reflected weeks of bruising political fighting which deepened congressional divides and changed the nature of high court appointments in the future. When Democrats blocked the nomination on Thursday with a procedural filibuster, Republicans responded by making a dramatic and historic change in the Senate rules to allow Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees to pass through the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority instead of the previous 60-vote threshold. Gorsuch only received 55. I applaud the Senate for wasting no time in confirming Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

"I believe it will make this body a more partisan place", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Trump's choice of Gorsuch from a list of 21 potential nominees created in conjunction with the Federalist Society and equally conservative Heritage Foundation soothed Republicans but enraged Democrats, who complained about "dark money" spent on his behalf by other right-wing groups during the confirmation process. At 49 years old, Gorsuch will likely serve a long tenure marked by numerous precedent-setting decisions.

"The American people will not accept Senate Republicans shameful actions as just the mere status quo".

Gorsuch is scheduled to be sworn in as the 113th Supreme Court Justice on Monday.

"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. They fear Gorsuch will align himself with the court's other conservatives on issues ranging from employment discrimination to reproductive rights.

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Gorsuch, in a speech previous year at Case Western Reserve University School of law, aligned himself with Scalia's judicial philosophy. His mother, Anne Gorsuch Burford, was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Reagan administration until she was forced out after a dispute with Congress.

Scalia was a strict adherent to the philosophy of originalism, the belief that the Constitution should be interpreted in terms of what the authors meant at the time of ratification.

Advocates of religious liberty said Gorsuch will offer much-need support to freedom of religion, which is suffering from an "erosion". "I hope my Democratic friends will take this moment to reflect and perhaps consider a turning point in their outlook going forward". Republicans on Thursday overcame a ferocious Democratic effort to prevent a vote by resorting to a Senate rule change known as the "nuclear option". "Those are serious things for this republic". Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch once clerked, is 80 and may be contemplating retirement. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer are 84 and 78, respectively. Republicans have called Gorsuch superbly qualified and one of the nation's most distinguished appellate judges.

"Voters elected Donald Trump because he vowed to appoint a mainstream conservative to the highest court in the land, and today he delivered on that promise", she said in a statement.

The Senate confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is vindication for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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