Senate confirms Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court using "nuclear option"

Alvin Kelly
April 20, 2017

WYDRA: He will jump right into two areas of the law that Donald Trump actually promised would be a litmus test for whoever he put forward as a nominee to the Supreme Court. "We need a justice on the court who will help swing it back in the direction of the people".

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) voted against confirming Gorsuch because she says some of his decisions favor corporations instead of the little guy.

JOHNSON: In the next week, the justices will meet privately to decide whether to hear appeals in a pair of gun cases.

The outcome was a major victory for Trump, his first big congressional win.

Republicans and their conservative allies were in celebration mode as the clock ticked down to the final vote Friday.

Even as senior Republicans lamented the voting change, McConnell and some allies argued that all they were doing was returning to a time, not long ago, when filibusters of judicial nominees were unusual, and it was virtually unheard-of to try to block a Supreme Court nominee in that fashion. This decision wasn't some benevolent action to preserve democracy, it was to erode it.

And that change could have far-ranging impacts for the future of the court itself.

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"Rarely has this body seen a nominee to the Supreme Court so well-qualified, so skilled, [with] such command of constitutional jurisprudence, with such an established record of independence and such judicial temperament", Sen.

Democrats opposed Mr Gorsuch in part because Senate Republicans blocked former president Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, last year.

The pro-life crowd all but universally rejoined Friday afternoon when it was announced that Judge Justice Neil Gorsuch had officially been confirmed to the ninth seat on the United States Supreme Court.

Gorsuch has in the past called the extremely conservative Scalia 'a lion of the law'.

Gorsuch, whose mother was a state legislator and then director of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Ronald Reagan, tried to play down the political elements in his background. He clerked for two Supreme Court justices before embarking on a legal career that included a high-ranking Justice Department post. He is viewed as an "originalist", which means he believes judges ought to interpret the Constitution and the law as originally written.

"This confirmation is a huge victory for President Donald Trump, who kept his promise by appointing a constitutionalist to the bench", said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government. McConnell invoked a so-called "nuclear option" to clear the path for Trump's candidate.

"We know he'll be independent", Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said.

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