FOX NEWS - The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Friday, filling the critical ninth seat that has been vacant for over a year and capping a tumultuous debate that saw Republicans overhaul the way the chamber operates in order to overcome what they described as an unprecedented Democratic filibuster.
The 54-45 vote is expected to restore a 5-4 conservative tilt on the bench. Once sworn in, Gorsuch will join the court and begin to hear cases, in the seat once held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.
“He’s going to make the American people proud,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
Republicans lauded Gorsuch as an eminently qualified jurist and a fitting successor to Scalia. But Democrats accused him of giving evasive answers during his confirmation hearing, and claimed his past rulings showed a tendency to favor business interests over workers. More broadly, Democrats remain furious that Republicans under McConnell’s leadership blocked consideration of former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, in turn allowing Trump to nominate Gorsuch.
These partisan tensions exploded on the Senate floor this week, as Democrats mounted a filibuster against Gorsuch, prompting Republicans to use what’s known as the “nuclear option” Thursday to force a final vote.
Each party blamed the other for the escalation, accusing the other side of damaging long-standing institutions.