Gorsuch on path to confirmation as Senate tears up own rules


With Vice President Mike Pence presiding, Gorsuch passed in 54-45 vote that went largely along party lines, though three moderate Democrats voted for confirmation.

But it's happened a few times, though well before the age of careful vetting of nominees and Senate hearings. The Supreme Court shouldn't be changed too much right now. Among them: his conservative judicial philosophy as expressed in his 10 years on the bench, his evasive answers during the confirmation hearing and a burning resentment at the Republicans' unprecedented refusal for almost a year to even hold a hearing on Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

He becomes the 113th Supreme Court Justice of the United States. Alexander Hamilton also made a pitch to Harrison, who initially relented and set out from Maryland for NY, then the nation's capital.

Later Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy will ask his former law clerk and new colleague to take the second oath in a public ceremony at the White House. Joe Manchin of West Virginia; Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota; and Joe Donnelly of IN - voted to confirm Gorsuch.

But Democrats replied that they were left no choice after Republicans' systematic abuse of the filibuster during the first four years of the Obama presidency, making it extraordinarily hard to confirm lower court and executive branch nominees.

"November exit polls showed that 1 in 5 Americans prioritized the Supreme Court nomination when casting their vote, and with a majority of 57 percent of those voters casting a vote for Donald Trump, it is clear that the majority of American voters wanted a strict constructionist", Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said on Friday.

With a series of choreographed parliamentary maneuvers, Republicans were able, by majority vote, to abolish the longstanding rule that required 60 votes to cut off debate on a Supreme Court nomination.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican and Judiciary Committee chair who played a key role in the fight, cast blame on Senate Democrats, emphasizing in a floor speech Thursday that they were engaging in the "first partisan filibuster in US history". The change allowed the Senate to proceed to the final vote with a simple majority.

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"As I said when I voted against the Democrats" nuclear option in 2013, I firmly believe that the filibuster is vital to protecting the minority's views and exactly why the Framers of our Constitution made the Senate the "cooling saucer, '" Manchin said in a statement.

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

A final confirmation vote on Gorsuch is expected Friday and he could then be sworn in in time to take his seat on the court later this month and hear the final cases of the term. For many of those who voted for him, getting a conservative judge on to America's highest court was a top priority.

Gorsuch, in a speech past year at Case Western Reserve University School of law, aligned himself with Scalia's judicial philosophy. And it was cause for celebration for conservatives, who have often seemed willing to forgive various Trump failings next to the chance to win this lifetime appointment to the most important court on the land.

Issues still before the court include religious freedom and gun rights. Trump himself predicted to reporters aboard Air Force One Thursday that "there could be as many as four" Supreme Court vacancies for him to fill during his administration.

Democrats eventually staged a filibuster of Gorsuch this week, leading Senate Republicans triggered the so-called "nuclear option".

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said there are plans afoot among a bipartisan group of senators to organize a private meeting in the Old Supreme Court Chamber, located in the Capitol, later this year.