Sweet relief sets in as 3 Dems vote for Gorsuch SCOTUS confirmation, giving him 54-45 victory

Three Democrats crossed party lines to send Judge Neil Gorsuch to the high court.

After weeks of hemming, hawing, complaining and posturing, Democratic senators lost their battle Friday to deny Gorsuch his ascension to the judiciary’s Mount Olympus — the Supreme Court of the United States.

Clip via Fox News Channel

Three Democrats crossed party liners to cast their lot with the new Supreme Court justice, making it 54 votes for his confirmation.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly representing Indiana all face tough re-election battles in 2018 in states that voted heavily for President Donald Trump last year.

Two other Democrats — Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana — will also face difficult re-election challenges ahead, but nonetheless voted against confirmation.

The vote was anti-climatic after Thursday’s dramatic decision by Senate Republicans to employ the so-called “nuclear option,” eliminating the possibility for a filibuster by minority party senators.


Prior to 2013, filibuster was possible for all presidential nominations — both judicial and non-judicial — as well as legislation. In that year, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dispensed with the right on confirmation votes for all appointments except to the Supreme Court.

When Democrats made it clear that they would filibuster the Gorsuch confirmation, Republicans voted to dispense with the right for high court appointments as well.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP only triggered the nuclear option to “restore norms” within the Senate. Had the Gorsuch confirmation been filibustered, it would have been the first of a court appointment in U.S. history.

Reaction on the floor was mixed — depending upon party membership, beginning with McConnell.

“He’s going to make the American people proud,” the Kentucky Republican said.

“Rarely has this body seen a nominee to the Supreme Court so well-qualified, so skilled, [with] such command of constitutional jurisprudence, with such an established record of independence and such judicial temperament,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Friday.

Democrats reacted mainly to the use of the nuclear option to clear the way for Gorsuch’s confirmation.

“Damage was done to our democracy,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. “Raw political power has been exercised to break the rules and norms of this body.”

He neglected to mention that those rules were broken by his own party’s leadership.

Conservatives expressed both elation and relief on social media.

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With Friday’s vote, the high court will once again be restored to a 9-member body.


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