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After rules change, Senate confirms court nominee Gorsuch in 54-45 vote


  • U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the media April 7 as the Senate prepared for a confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. He was confirmed 54-45. McConnell changed Senate rules to allow Gorsuch to be confirmed with a simple majority vote, rather than needing 60 votes, to counter a Democratic filibuster. (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA)
  • Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, testifies during the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing March 21 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Gorsuch was asked during the hearing about his view on Roe v. Wade and Trump's promise to appoint someone who would overturn the ruling. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Senate April 7 confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch for the seat on the Supreme Court left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.

The vote was 54-45 and came after lawmakers in a 52-48 party line vote a day earlier approved a rules change introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to cut off debate and allow confirmation of President Donald Trump's nominee by a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes needed.

Gorsuch will be sworn in as the nation's the 113th justice April 10. The Associated Press reported that there will be two ceremonies -- one at the court and one at the White House.

Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the constitutional oath to Gorsuch in a private morning ceremony at the court. Later in the day, he will take the second oath in a public ceremony at the White House.

The three Democratic senators who joined the Senate's 51 GOP members to vote for confirmation were Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.


"For decades, liberal senators and interest groups had attacked Republican judicial nominees with procedural and political weapons that Republicans were slow to match," National Right to Life senior policy adviser Douglas D. Johnson said in a statement. "This week, the Republicans took decisive action to restore parity to the judicial confirmation process, and we commend them for it."

Gorsuch has been a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, based in Denver. Nominated by then-President George W. Bush, he was unanimously confirmed for the circuit court in 2006 and that same year, he received a "unanimously well qualified" rating from the American Bar Association. At 49, he is the youngest Supreme Court justice to serve on the court in 25 years.

Gorsuch has degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford universities. He clerked for two Supreme Court justices and worked for the Department of Justice. He is an adjunct law professor at the University of Colorado and he wrote a 2009 book arguing against the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

He was raised Catholic and attended Catholic elementary schools and a Jesuit-run Catholic high school in Maryland, Georgetown Preparatory School. He now attends an Episcopal church with his family in Colorado.

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