Brushing aside the opposition of Democrats, Republicans in the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, delivering the first legislative victory for President Donald Trump, and filling a vacancy on the court that had been open for over a year since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The vote was 54-45, as three Democrats voted for Gorsuch, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Sen. Johnny Isa
"He has sterling credentials, an excellent record, and an ideal judicial temperament," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who muscled Gorsuch through the Senate with a Thursday "nuclear option" rules change, that mirrored one made by Democrats in 2013 on non-Supreme Court nominations.
"Confirming Judge Gorsuch is one of the most important things we will do for future generations of Americans," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
"Judge Gorsuch is a world class jurist," said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
"I think he'll be a great addition to the court," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said of Gorsuch.
"He is there to interpret the law, not to be an activist for his own personal opinion," said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).
For Democrats, the outcome gave them heartburn on multiple levels, as they expressed frustration over the refusal of Republicans to vote on President Obama's nominee from 2016, and then watched as the GOP changed the rules to get rid of the 60 vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees.
"I believe it will make this body a more partisan place," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).
But this was not a day for the Democrats, as Republicans celebrated the first real victory in Congress for President Trump, who has seen lawmakers unable to forge a deal on health care reform, while other major agenda items like tax reform, infrastructure plans and more have not bolted from the starting gate.
Gorsuch will be sworn in on Monday; he will attend his first Supreme Court arguments the next week, on Monday April 17.