Monday, 19 February, 2018

Neil Gorsuch Confirmed to US Supreme Court

Melinda Barton | 21 April, 2017, 17:18

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Judge Gorsuch on April 7 after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ditched the parliamentary rules of requiring a 60-vote majority to bring confirmations of Supreme Court judges to the floor for a vote.

Markey defended his "no" vote, arguing that by nominating Gorsuch, Republicans and Trump "put corporations and special interests ahead of Americans".

Gorsuch, 49, has been hailed by Republicans as a worthy successor to conservative justice Antonia Scalia, who died in February 2016 as the presidential race was gaining steam. "I believe he will serve the American people well."?? Republicans - who control 52 Senate seats - eliminated the filibuster rule in order to move Gorsuch's nomination forward with a simple majority vote.

"As Catholics, we welcome the confirmation of a judge whose record adheres to the Constitutional right to free exercise of religion without government bullying and whose scholarship affirms the inherent dignity in all people", Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, said on Friday.

"Judge Gorsuch is now Justice Gorsuch, and I'm glad to see such a distinguished jurist raised to the highest court in the land". Only three Democrats broke ranks to vote in favor of Gorsuch. At the same time, several justices are over 70 years of age, and retirement rumors surrounding Kennedy could give Trump other opportunities during his presidency to add to the conservative bloc. Gorsuch could be expected to serve for decades, while Trump could make further appointments to the high court to make it even more solidly conservative because three of the eight justices are 78 or older.

Throughout the confirmation process, Justice Gorsuch proved himself to be a highly capable individual who is supremely qualified for this great responsibility.

It was not easy. Senate Republicans resorted to extraordinary steps to overcome Democratic opposition to Gorsuch, including changing long-standing Senate rules to prohibit the use of a procedural blockade called a filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. The rule change was dubbed the "nuclear option" because it was considered an extreme break from Senate tradition.

Justice Anthony Kennedy will administer the oath at the White House ceremony. His administration also has faced questions about any role the president's associates may have played in alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election to help Trump. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who sought the Democratic nomination for president a year ago.

Neil Gorsuch will be the next justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. This issue is a favorite of conservatives and Gorsuch's beliefs align with those of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas.

A conservative-majority court is more likely to support gun rights, abortion regulations, an expansive view of religious liberty and Republican-backed voting restrictions, while opposing curbs on political spending.

He will attend his first private conference with his new colleagues Thursday and sit for the next round of oral arguments that begins April 17 - including an important case on the separation of church and state that's been delayed for months, presumably because of the risk of a 4-4 tie vote.

Gorsuch is expected to be sworn in within days, in time to hear the final cases of the term. There are appeals pending on expanding gun rights to include carrying concealed firearms in public, state voting restrictions that critics say are aimed at reducing minority turnout, and allowing business owners to object on religious grounds to serving gay couples.