Senate Confirms Neil Gorsuch To Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON (AP/CBSDFW) – 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 chamber’s rules, voting to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold on Supreme Court nominees. The change allowed 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.

President Trump congratulated Gorsuch Friday after his confirmation became official. “It is a great honor to announce the historic confirmation of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States,” the president said in a statement. “Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation process was one of the most transparent and accessible in history, and his judicial temperament, exceptional intellect, unparalleled integrity, and record of independence makes him the perfect choice to serve on the Nation’s highest court. As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction as he continues to faithfully and vigorously defend our Constitution.”

Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz also praised the senate’s confirmation of Gorsuch on Friday.

“He’s known for his sharp intellect, his brilliant writing, and his faithful interpretation of the Constitution and laws passed by Congress,” said Cornyn. “He is, in short, a distinguished jurist with an impeccable legal and academic record.”

“President Trump promised to nominate a principled jurist in the mold of Justice Scalia, not a liberal judicial activist who would undermine the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And in November, millions of conservatives across this country showed up to protect the Constitution and protect that vacant seat for a principled originalist. Despite an unprecedented Democratic filibuster, today is a day that the Republican majority kept its promise to protect our fundamental rights, to protect free speech, to protect religious liberty, and to protect the Second Amendment,” Cruz said. “Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation is a critical step to defend the long-term liberty of millions of Americans, and for that reason, today is a day to celebrate.”

This is a developing news story. Refresh for the latest details.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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