Mitch McConnell Goes 'Nuclear' To Break Supreme Court Filibuster

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Gorsuch has in the past called the extremely conservative Scalia 'a lion of the law'. 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.

President Donald Trump made an outstanding nomination in Neil Gorsuch, and today I commend his confirmation as the next associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Prominent Republican Senator John McCain said the invoking of the drastic action was a "regrettable setback" for democracy in the U.S. but said that his side was left with no option. Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not vote.

Even after Gorsuch's confirmation was assured, Senate leaders continued to squabble Friday about the way in which it happened. Gorsuch has ruled several times in favor of expansive religious rights during his decade as a judge.

For the past 10-plus years on the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch has developed a reputation as a strict "textualist" and "originalist" - like Scalia, someone who reads statutes and the Constitution literally and seeks to interpret them through the eyes of their authors. This isn't just a monumental win for the conservative movement, this is a monumental win for the American people.

Back in February, I applauded President Trump's choice to appoint Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Republicans argued that Obama shouldn't get to name a justice so close to the end of his term, and they refused to even consider his nominee, Merrick Garland. Gorsuch "believes deeply in neutral, impartial decision-making, and he is deeply committed to a Constitution whose limits on judicial and government power inextricably intertwine with the preservation of human freedom". Judge Gorsuch understands that.

Grassley said Gorsuch "will make a superb justice".

After Trump nominated Gorsuch on January 31, he essentially enjoyed a stealth confirmation process, as near daily stories from the White House overshadowed the fight.

President Donald Trump says in a statement that Gorsuch's "judicial temperament, exceptional intellect, unparalleled integrity, and record of independence" will make him "the ideal choice" to serve on the court. He pushed way too hard on the "I'm not going to express a view about anything, ever" fallback - much harder than previous nominees.

When President Trump had appointed Judge Gorsuch, he told Mitch McConnell to 'go nuclear.' However, it definitely isn't the first time the nuclear option has been considered or even executed. A fourth Senate Democrat, Michael Bennet from Gorsuch's home state of Colorado, has said he will not join in the filibuster against Gorsuch but has not said how he will vote on confirmation.

The final confirmation vote came after Senate Republicans rewrote the rules, voting to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold on Supreme Court nominees.

McConnell's decision previous year to hold the Supreme Court seat open was seen as a gamble, questioned even by some in his party, but it's now viewed by Republicans as a political master stroke.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice", said McConnell in a closing floor speech. Trump himself predicted to reporters aboard Air Force One that "there could be as many as four" Supreme Court vacancies for him to fill during his administration. At the time, we said this move was "a further signal of the breakdown of cooperation in Washington, and it nearly certainly will lead to an escalation of partisan bickering".