The Senate has confirmed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, bringing a contentious 14-month partisan battle to a close after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The vote was 54-45 on Friday. The victory gives President Donald Trump's 49-year-old nominee a lifetime spot on the court and his party a much-needed political win after failing to pass legislation on health care and other issues.
The final confirmation vote came after Senate Republicans rewrote the rules, voting to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold on Supreme Court nominees. The change allows the Senate to proceed to the final vote with a simple majority. Democrats opposed Gorsuch in part because Senate Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, last year.
So, what is next? The final vote does not put Gorsuch on the high court immediately. He still must be sworn in at the court and the White House, both of which are expected to take place early next week.
As stated by the SCOTUS Blog, Gorsuch was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush on May 10, 2006, and confirmed shortly thereafter. A Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford, a graduate from Harvard Law School, and former clerk for prominent conservative judges (Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy of the Supreme Court), as well as a former high-ranking official in the Bush Justice Department before his judicial appointment, Gorsuch, 49, has been viewed as "a natural fit for an appointment to the Supreme Court by a Republican president."