The high-stakes battle over President Donald Trump’s pick to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia is over. On Friday, the Senate voted 54-45 to elevate Judge Neil Gorsuch to the nation’s highest judicial body after Republicans changed up the rules to allow his confirmation with a simple majority of votes.
Gorsuch becomes the 113th justice of the Supreme Court after a bitter partisan struggle that left a transformed Senate in its wake. Democrats assembled to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination by denying him the 60 votes he would have needed to advance to a final vote, but Republicans retaliated by expanding a 2013 rule – that the Democrats themselves created – to cover Supreme Court nominations.
A graduate of Columbia, Harvard, and Oxford, Gorsuch boasts an impressive resume as a Washington lawyer for a top firm and a standout Supreme Court law clerk. In 2006, he joined the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver and quickly rose to prominence.
Led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democrats mounted a withering challenge against Gorsuch, still upset by how Republicans treated former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. They blasted Gorsuch as a corporate crony whose conservative leanings were too pronounced to elicit bipartisan support.
Gorsuch’s confirmation has been hailed as a victory for Trump, who campaigned on a promise to fill the seat vacated by Justice Scalia, a staunch conservative, with a judge of similar principles.