Republicans Resort to 'Nuclear Option' in Gorsuch Confirmation. What Does that Mean?

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Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed Friday as the 113th justice to serve on the nation's highest court.

After weeks of turmoil, the Senate confirmed Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch as the Supreme Court's youngest justice Friday, filling a 14-month vacancy after the death of Antonin Scalia and restoring a rightward tilt that could last for years. Mitch McConnell invoked the "nuclear option", which changed "Senate rules from needing 60 votes to a 51-vote simple majority on Senate confirmation cloture, or debate", ABC News reports. But it was accomplished with a historic vote Thursday to end the U.S. Senate's filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees. Former President Barack Obama had nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill Scalia's spot, but Republicans - who held the majority in the Senate - refused to give Garland a hearing or a vote, insisting the decision should wait until the American people elected a new president.

Justices take two oaths, one required by the Constitution and the other set by federal law.

Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the constitutional oath to Mr Gorsuch in a private ceremony in the justices' conference room.

Gorsuch is expected to join a conservative-leaning voting bloc of justices, making five on the nine-member court. "It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court a more partisan place". In the end, the campaign on Gorsuch's behalf helped to unite Republicans but wooed less than a handful of Democrats to his side, leaving McConnell to deploy the nuclear option. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, R-Ind., who voted to confirm the President's nominee.

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Senate Republicans resorted to extraordinary steps to overcome Democratic opposition to Gorsuch, including changing long-standing Senate rules to prohibit the use of a procedural blockade called a filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

Gorsuch will officially be sworn in on Monday morning and can immediately begin hearing cases. "So we are charging Judge Gorsuch to be the independent and fair-minded justice that America badly needs". There is no way to know how many there will be, if any, but several justices are quite elderly. There are appeals pending on expanding gun rights to include carrying concealed firearms in public, state voting restrictions that critics say are aimed at reducing minority turnout, and allowing business owners to object on religious grounds to provide certain services to gay couples. "It is a proud day for Colorado and the United States has much to look forward to with Neil Gorsuch serving on the Supreme Court".

Trump's choice of Gorsuch from a list of 21 potential nominees created in conjunction with the Federalist Society and equally conservative Heritage Foundation soothed Republicans but enraged Democrats, who also complained about "dark money" spent on his behalf by other right-wing groups during the confirmation process.

Even as they united in indignation, lawmakers of both parties, pulled by fierce political forces from left and right, were unwilling to stop the confirmation rules change. Do you fear the Senate will become more partisan? And in many ways the showdown had been pre-ordained, the final chapter in years of partisan warfare over judicial nominees.

Thursday's vote means that from now on, all nominations, including those to the Supreme Court, can be quickly approved by a majority vote in the Senate.

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