Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Health Care | By Jeffery Armstrong

Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Without question, Majority Leader McConnell gave Senate Democrats every opportunity to break ranks with Minority Leader Schumer in order to give Gorsuch an up-or-down vote under the Senate's customary 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees. Forcing through a justice by a simple majority vote shows that leaders in the Senate don't care about the working class.

Justices take two oaths, one required by the Constitution and the other set by federal law.

Gorsuch's opinions on religious liberty, where he sided with the challengers to the so-called Obamacare contraceptive mandate, and on the separation of powers, where he said too much deference was given by the courts to administrative agencies, are key to his appeal to Trump and Republicans. Gorsuch is a veteran of Denver's 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals with a history of conservative rulings that make him an intellectual heir to Scalia. Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote.

"Today, Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to a lifetime seat on the United States Supreme Court". Only 51 votes were needed for confirmation.

"Time and time again Hoosiers have told me the importance of confirming a mainstream choice for the Supreme Court - one that doesn't legislate from the bench and understands his or her role in our constitutional system". Some feel that more ideological candidates will now be able to get Senate support, possibly polarising a court that is meant to be the pinnacle of an independent judiciary. "Judge Gorsuch is extremely qualified, and I congratulate him on his confirmation to the seat that was once held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a man he referred to as a 'lion on the law.", said Rutledge. With Vice President Mike Pence presiding, Gorsuch passed in 54-45 vote that went largely along party lines, though three moderate Democrats voted for confirmation.

The Democrats were painted into a corner as they had employed the controversial rule change to prevent a Republican filibuster of Obama appointments in 2013.

Had the Senate confirmed Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, the court would have tilted to the left for the first time in decades.

"Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court represents the triumph of bullying over moderation".

Even as senior Republicans lamented the voting change, McConnell and some allies argued that all they were doing was returning to a time, not long ago, when filibusters of judicial nominees were unusual, and it was virtually unheard-of to try to block a Supreme Court nominee in that fashion. His administration also has faced questions about any role the president's associates may have played in alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election to help Trump. The court also is likely to tackle transgender rights and union funding in coming years.

While I am disappointed that partisan politics interfered with the Senate's consideration of a nominee who deserved the support of all 100 senators, I am extraordinarily pleased that Judge Gorsuch will now take a seat on the highest court in the land. 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.

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