"Taking their lead from the Bully-in-Chief Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell twisted and turned the rules of the Senate to ram this extremist nominee through - slashing and burning safeguards for moderation, such as the rule calling for a 60 votes threshold needed to confirm an Associate Supreme Court Justice", Russell Roybal, the deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said in a statement. "Judge Gorsuch is a very conservative judge and not one that I would have chosen. Once again, we are deeply disappointed in Senator Heller, and we would like to remind him that 2018 is around the corner and we will not forget his vote on this critical issue." . Some of those cases may come up April 13, which could be Gorsuch's first private conference - where justices decide whether to hear a case.
"I hope Judge Gorsuch has listened to our debate here in the Senate, particularly about our concerns about the Supreme Court increasingly drifting towards becoming a more pro-corporate court that favors employers, corporations and special interests over working Americans", said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. It takes four votes to do so, though the court does not generally announce each justice's decision. Republicans control the Senate, 52-48, and the rule change was approved by that margin. Presided over by Vice President Mike Pence, the 54-45 near party-line vote caps a partisan saga that has seen Republicans pursue a rule change widely regarded as the "nuclear option". You're on the Supreme Court.
And that change could have far-ranging impacts for the future of the court itself. It left Democrats with no filibuster options during Mr Trump's cabinet nominations earlier in the year.
"In fact, under a certain scenario, there could even be more than that", Trump said.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.is the most recent justice to have been confirmed during a Supreme Court term. McConnell refused to hold hearings for President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, a move that enraged Democrats but that Republicans now hail as a political master stroke. That unusual external review omitted consultation with Senate Democrats, contributing to bitter Democrat complaints about the way the whole process was handled. And yet in many ways the showdown had been pre-ordained, the final chapter in years of partisan warfare over judicial nominees.
The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, filling a seat that has been vacant for over a year since the death of Antonin Scalia.
McConnell said Gorsuch, who also worked in the Justice Department under Republican former President George W. Bush and is the son of the first woman to head the Environmental Protection Agency, has "sterling credentials, an excellent record and an ideal judicial temperament". He told reporters that he views his refusal to fill Scalia's seat, which was initially questioned by some fellow Republicans, as "the most consequential decision I've ever been involved in".
Gorsuch's nomination was announced by Trump in late January and earned immediate, widespread praise from Republican lawmakers excited by the prospect of maintaining the court's previous ideological balance and relieved by how well the White House orchestrated the nomination.