Neil Gorsuch Confirmed by Senate as Supreme Court Justice...
WASHINGTON — Judge Neil M. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on Friday to become the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, capping a political brawl that lasted for more than a year and tested constitutional norms inside the Capitol’s fraying upper chamber.
The development was a triumph for President Trump, whose campaign appeal to reluctant Republicans last year rested in large part on his pledge to appoint another committed conservative to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.
However rocky the first months of his administration may have been, Mr. Trump now has a lasting legacy: Judge Gorsuch, 49, could serve on the court for 30 years or more.
“As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution,” the president said.
Vice President Mike Pence presided over the final vote on Friday, a show of force for the White House on a day when his tiebreaking vote as president of the Senate was not necessary. The final tally was 54-45 in favor of confirmation.
The confirmation was also a vindication of the bare-knuckled strategy of Senate Republicans, who refused even to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Merrick B. Garland, saying the choice of the next justice should belong to the next president.
Yet the bruising confrontation has left the Senate a changed place. Friday’s vote was only possible after the Senate discarded longstanding rules meant to ensure mature deliberation and bipartisan cooperation in considering Supreme Court nominees. On Thursday, after Democrats waged a filibuster against Judge Gorsuch, denying him the 60 votes required to advance to a final vote, Republicans invoked the so-called nuclear option: lowering the threshold on Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote.
The confirmation saga did not help the reputation of the Supreme Court, either. The justices say politics plays no role in their work, but the public heard an unrelentingly different story over the last year, with politicians, pundits and well-financed outside groups insisting that a Democratic nominee would rule differently from a Republican one.
Judge Gorsuch possesses the credentials typical of the modern Supreme Court justice. He is a graduate of Columbia, Harvard and Oxford, served as a Supreme Court law clerk and worked as a lawyer at a prestigious Washington law firm and at the Justice Department. He joined the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, in 2006, where he was widely admired as a fine judicial stylist.