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Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch to serve as Supreme Court justice

Senate confirms Gorsuch
After contentious fight and "going nuclear," Senate confirms Gorsuch for Supreme Court 02:21

The Senate on Friday confirmed, Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to serve as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. 

Lawmakers confirmed him in a 54-45 vote in a simple up-or-down simple majority vote. On Thursday, Senate Republicans successfully invoked the so-called “nuclear option,” effectively terminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.  

Vice President Pence presided over the vote in his role as president of the Senate. A handful of Democrats joined Republicans in voting “yes” on Gorsuch -- West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitcamp and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly. All three are moderate Democrats from conservative states.  

The Senate has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. All Republicans present voted in favor of Gorsuch’s nomination. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, did not vote, because he has been recovering from back surgery.

The rules change came after Senate Democrats successfully blocked his nomination with the filibuster in place. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, then moved to change the rules so that the 60-vote threshold to advance Supreme Court nominations is now eliminated. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, had attempted to delay the effort to change the rules until after the two-week congressional recess, but failed to secure enough votes to proceed that way. He also tried to adjourn until the evening, but was also unsuccessful. 

Under the new rules, the Senate took a simple majority procedural vote to limit debate to 30 hours on the nomination. 

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