Senate confirms Trump pick Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Senate confirms Trump pick Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Senate confirms Trump pick Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

The final confirmation vote came after Senate Republicans rewrote the chamber's rules, voting to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold on Supreme Court nominees.

Gorsuch will be sworn in Monday and will quickly begin confronting cases of effect, including one involving separation of church and state that the justices will take up in less than two weeks.

"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. Gorsuch is a veteran of Denver's 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals with a history of conservative rulings that make him an intellectual heir to Scalia. "Judge Gorsuch is a very conservative judge and not one that I would have chosen".

While most observers do not believe Gorsuch's appointment will decisively shift the court's balance (Justice Anthony Kennedy remains the swing vote), it's enough to unsettle those who want to use the court to impose their will on free citizens, rather than let them keep their inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote. It takes four votes to do so, though the court does not generally announce each justice's decision.

When Gorsuch is sworn in, the court will again have a full nine-member bench.

Confirmation of Mr Gorsuch in a vote sometime on Friday would represent Mr Trump's first major victory since taking office after setbacks on healthcare legislation and his blocked order to prevent people from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.

McConnell correctly bet that a Republican might win the presidency and nominate a replacement for Scalia but the move further eroded trust in the Senate and set the stage for the rules change.

In the end, though, there's no question that Gorsuch, who bills himself as an adherent to the philosophy of "originalism" - favoring a literal, narrow approach to interpreting the U.S. Constitution and the original intent behind various other laws - would be a doctrinaire conservative in the mold of the man he's replacing, the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.

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. It allowed most presidential nominees, including federal court judges, to pass on a simple majority, but it excluded Supreme Court picks.

The Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, steadfastly refused to act on Obama's nominee, reasoning that the next president should nominate the next justice.

"I think this was a sad day for the Senate, and each party has a deeply felt sense of grievance".

The 49-year-old Coloradan also will be the first member of Generation X, the cohort of Americans following the post-World War II baby boom, to reach the court. Gorsuch is expected to hear arguments in 13 cases.

"In fact, under a certain scenario, there could even be more than that", Trump said.

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