Neil Gorsuch confirmation rolls Supreme Court to the right

Caroline Beck
Апреля 18, 2017

The Senate, which past year refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, voted 54-45 to approve Republican Trump's pick, Colorado-based federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, to the lifetime job.

With Neil Gorsuch's confirmation as the 113th Supreme Court justice on Friday, it won't be long before he starts revealing what he really thinks about a range of hot topics he repeatedly sidestepped during his confirmation hearing. The Republican majority changed Senate rules to lower the vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees from 60 votes to a simple majority to counter Democratic resistance. "I believe he will serve the American people well."??

Senator Steve Daines issued a statement Friday saying, "Judge Gorsuch is mainstream and he's not going to legislate from the bench". "Judge Gorsuch is a strict constitutionalist who believes that a judge's personal policy preferences should not affect the outcome of a case".

At 49, he is decades younger than several of the other justices - two are in their 80s and one is 78 - raising the possibility that President Donald Trump will have a chance to appoint more conservatives to a court that has been somewhat balanced in recent years. Republican Senator Johnny Isakson missed the vote while recovering from back surgery.

The vote came a day after Republicans used their majority to exercise the "nuclear option", altering Senate rules to defeat a Democratic procedural blockade of the nominee, known as a filibuster.

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Further easing Gorsuch's transition is that his former boss, Justice Anthony Kennedy, remains on the court. Once on the job, Gorsuch is expected to keep the nine-member court tilted in the same conservative direction it leaned under his predecessor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. For the filibuster to end, the Senate would need 60 votes or else the nomination of Gorsuch would've failed. John Thune, R-S.D. "And now we have a great justice on the Supreme Court".

The Senate voted 54-45 to approve Trump's nomination for the post and three Democrats -Sen. Republicans said Gorsuch had simply applied the law to the facts, without regard to his personal views, while Democrats claimed Gorsuch had interpreted the law to favor corporations over workers.

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.

Under the new rules, which the 52-member Republican majority can ratify despite bitter objections from the Democrats, another vote will be held to allow Gorsuch to move forward to final passage.

Professor Thomas Lee of Fordham University School of Law predicted that Gorsuch's presence on the closely divided court will not automatically translate into more 5-4 wins for conservatives, at least not in particularly socially controversial cases.

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