Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fulfilled his promise to President Trump and the American people this morning, by successfully ending the partisan Democrats’ filibuster and leading the Senate confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The vote was 54-45, mostly along party lines. Only three Democrats: Sens. Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, sided with the GOP majority.
Vice President Mike Pence presided over the vote, but was not needed to break a tie.
The court has been operating with eight justices since the sudden death in February 2016 of Justice Antonin Scalia and a protracted fight over President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
The confirmation does not alter the so-called “balance of the Court,” however, the precedent-setting move to require only a simple majority vote – first made by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – could return the highest court in the land sharply toward the Constitution, should Justice Ginsberg or Justice Breyer retire.
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Reaction to the restoration of a full Court has been overwhelmingly positive.
Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel with Becket and a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said:
Congratulations to Judge Gorsuch and his family on his confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch’s decade of judicial service demonstrates that he applies the law fairly to protect religious liberty for people of all faiths–Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, and Christians. He carefully explained during his hearings how key civil rights laws work to protect the little guy and family-owned businesses alike – including Becket clients, the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby. Judge Gorsuch joins the Supreme Court at a pivotal time, when the Court will decide important cases that affect the rights of America’s faithful. We, at Becket, look forward to Judge Gorsuch’s many years of service on our nation’s highest court and to his future legacy preserving this vital constitutional right for Americans of all faiths.
Alliance Defending Freedom President, CEO, and General Counsel Michael Farris said in a statement:
ADF congratulates Neil Gorsuch, who will be the newest member of the high court and a natural successor to Justice Scalia. His confirmation should surprise no one given the high praise he has received from people across the ideological spectrum. The American Bar Association gave him its highest rating, and his integrity, professional competence, and judicial demeanor have earned him respect from all quarters. ADF hopes that he will continue to interpret the Constitution as our founders intended and affirm our most fundamental freedom—religious liberty, which includes the right not to be discriminated against because of one’s religion. This basic principle will be at stake right away on April 19 when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer.
Gorsuch will fill the position previously held by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13, 2016. This is the second time that the Senate has voted to confirm the Coloradan for federal judicial service. In 2006, by a unanimous voice vote, the Senate confirmed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey applauded Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation, saying the newest Justice is, “a jurist who will respect state government, the role of the judiciary and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution as it was written.
“The Mountain State will have a friend in Judge Gorsuch,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I believe West Virginians will come to admire Judge Gorsuch’s willingness to protect religious liberty, respect the Second Amendment and rebuke the type of federal overreach that has harmed our state.”
Brian Rogers, Executive Director of America Rising Squared said in a statement:
Today’s bipartisan vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a major victory for America. The President could not have chosen a finer or more qualified jurist, and we are confident he will serve with great honor and distinction on our nation’s highest court.
By contrast, the conduct of the Democrat minority during this confirmation process has been nothing short of shameful. Led by Minority Leader Schumer, Democrats have attempted to smear Judge Gorsuch’s name with lies and distortions. They broke their word and tried to deny this good and decent man the dignity of a simple up-or-down vote in the U.S. Senate – the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in American history. In order to appease the loony left of their party, Democrats played gutter politics with the Supreme Court, and they alone bear responsibility the consequences.
More reactions from Twitter:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 7, 2017
— Scott Presler (@ScottPresler) April 6, 2017
— Emily Parry (@emmyparry) April 7, 2017
Neil Gorsuch confirmed pic.twitter.com/mQP3Xk5rXu
— Mary Clare Jalonick (@MCJalonick) April 7, 2017
Senate has just confirmed Neil Gorsuch pic.twitter.com/rBSFugunth
— Joanna Rodriguez (@joannabalesca) April 7, 2017