The Senate has confirmed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, bringing a contentious 14-month partisan battle to a close after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The 60-vote threshold for confirming a Supreme Court justice was an important provision to ensure the selection of a consensus candidate who could win support from both sides of the aisle.
Voting yes were 3 Democrats and 51 Republicans. Republican Senator Johnny Isakson missed the vote while recovering from back surgery.
Then-US President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland a year ago but the Republican-controlled Senate never gave Garland a hearing.
Gorsuch joins fellow conservatives Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy on a court that also includes liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. He will be officially sworn in on Monday morning.
Republicans exulted in the victory.
President Donald Trump says in a statement that Gorsuch's "judicial temperament, exceptional intellect, unparalleled integrity, and record of independence" will make him "the ideal choice" to serve on the court. "As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction".
"Our democracy simply can not afford a Supreme Court Justice who may bring his own political views into the courtroom".
"He has sterling credentials, an excellent record and an ideal judicial temperament", McConnell said on the Senate floor, according to CNN. McConnell told reporters Friday he viewed it as "the most consequential decision I've ever been involved in".
Conservatives hailed Gorsuch's confirmation. Gorsuch was on a list of potential justices recommended by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation during the campaign, and some Republicans even credit the Supreme Court vacancy as one reason Trump won the November election. Democrats can continue listening to those on the left who call for blind "resistance" to anything and everything this president proposes, but we can get more done by working together. According to PBS NewsHour, Gorsuch sided with the majority on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in ruling against the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate - a move that allowed the arts-and-crafts chain to deny employees access to birth control on "religious grounds". Many Democrats were still tight over Garland being passed over, as they should be, and noted that Gorsuch was super conservative. And on that he prevailed on a 52-48 party line vote.
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. Do you fear the Senate will become more partisan?
Judge Gorsuch is one of, if not the, most qualified Supreme Court nominees in our nation's history.
While that remains uncertain, it's safer to say Gorsuch should know his way around the venerable building.