Senate approves Gorsuch to Supreme Court

But the Democrats' high-profile filibuster had fizzled by midday Thursday after McConnell moved to alter the rules and received the backing of his entire Republican caucus. His textualist and originalist judicial philosophies are expected to return a conservative, 5-4 majority to the court, which has operated with only eight members since the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

Eliminating the 60-vote requirement for Supreme Court justices amounted to undoing the "the guardrail of our democracy", said the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

There was nothing Senate Democrats could really do to halt Gorsuch's nomination or even slow it down, as Republicans control both the White House and Congress.

So then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used a limited nuclear option in 2013, ending the 60-vote rule for all nominations except to the high court - despite warnings it would have consequences for Democrats.

Merkley this week delivered a 15-1/2-hour Senate speech against Gorsuch. "Judge Gorsuch is one of the most qualified judges to ever be nominated to the Court", said Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association.

"The nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch of Colorado to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court is confirmed", Pence said after votes were tallied.

Those three lawmakers, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of IN, were targeted IN a $10 million ad campaign launched by the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative organization.

Gorsuch's confirmation is a marquee accomplishment for President Donald Trump and his young administration, capping a momentous week for the White House that included the first military airstrikes authorized by the president. Trump is planning major tax cut legislation as well.

Senate Democrats charge that the end of filibusters for Supreme Court nominees will forever change the confirmation process.

Gorsuch, 49, a Denver-based judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, became the 113th Supreme Court justice Friday. Courts have also blocked Trump's order to stop people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

His administration has also faced questions about any role his associates may have played in Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump.

Capping a year of debate and drama, the GOP-controlled Senate on Friday reached a majority and confirmed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. And yet in many ways the showdown had been pre-ordained, the final chapter in years of partisan warfare over judicial nominees. The court also is likely to tackle transgender rights and union funding in coming years.

It ends a grueling confirmation battle that began January 31 when Trump announced Gorsuch as his pick in a prime-time address at the White House, describing him as "someone who respects our laws and is representative of our Constitution". The court repeatedly put off oral arguments in the case until scheduling it during the last argument session of its term.

  • Jon Douglas