Judge Neil Gorsuch has officially been confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 55-45 vote as the newest member of the Supreme Court, filling a vacancy left by Judge Antonin Scalia after his death in February 2016.
Republicans had to go “nuclear” in order to get Gorsuch confirmed, opting to rewrite the rules to eliminate the need for a 60-vote majority to confirm Supreme Court justices. Gorsuch, a constitutional “originalist” in the mold of Scalia, won’t really change the balance of power on the high court.
There was nothing Senate Democrats could really do to halt Gorsuch’s nomination or even slow it down, as Republicans control both the White House and Congress. However, progressive groups organized weeks ahead of time, urging Democrats to filibuster Gorsuch in order to please the party’s liberal base and signal that Democrats will oppose the Trump administration’s agenda completely.
Gorsuch will likely be sworn in sometime in the next few days and get the opportunity to serve on the court before its current term ends in June.