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The Senate Just Confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

The conservative judge was approved in a 54–45 vote.

by Drew Schwartz
Apr 7 2017, 3:15pm

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In a 54–45 vote along party lines, the Senate voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court, where he'll take Antonin Scalia's vacant seat and give the bench a conservative majority, Politico reports.

With Republican Johnny Isakson abstaining, 51 Republican senators voted to confirm Gorsuch, along with a few Democrats: senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, the New York Times reports. Gorsuch will be sworn in next week.

Senate Democrats managed to block Trump's SCOTUS pick Thursday in the first successful filibuster of an appointee in more than 50 years. But Senate Republicans then invoked the "nuclear option" and voted to permanently end the need for a 60-vote majority to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch only needed a 51-vote majority to ascend to the bench.

Although many of Gorsuch's past rulings have sided with the religious right, he suggested to senators in his confirmation hearings that he would uphold decisions of precedent, like Roe v. Wade. 

"I accept the law of the land," Gorsuch said, when asked if the 1973 decision was decided correctly.

Still, Democrats take issue with past decisions the judge has handed down. In 2008, Gorsuch sided with a school district against an autistic student, invoking a line of legal logic the Supreme Court—potentially his soon-to-be colleagues—later rejected.

At 49, Gorsuch could remain on the most powerful judiciary body in America for decades.

This headline has been altered to reflect the story's updates.

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