Judge Neil Gorsuch Confirmed by Senate

APRIL 07, 2017
Gale Scott
The United States Senate has confirmed the contentious nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The vote was 54 to 45, and mostly followed party lines.

Gorsuch, a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver was President Donald Trump’s choice to hold the seat vacated when Antonin Scalia died.

As a Conservative voice on the court, Gorsuch will likely have sway on several health issues, including reproductive rights, end-of-life care and assisted suicide, and transgender issues. Gorsuch has written a book opposing physician-assisted suicide.

But even if he opposes abortion, as long as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy continues to support the essential outline of the constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 in the Roe v. Wade case, adding a new justice likely wouldn’t make a significant difference, advocates have noted.

In approving Gorsuch, the GOP overcame staunch Democratic opposition, resorting to the so-called “nuclear option” by voting to eliminate filibuster as a mechanism to block court appointments.

The court vacancy itself came with controversy. Former President Barack Obama had been blocked from filling the seat beccause the GOP majority refused to hold confirmation hearings on that nominee Merrick Garland, chief judge of the United State Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Trump’s influence on the court will likely not end with the Gorsuch  confirmation.

Justice Ruther Bader Ginsburg, 83, Justice Kennedy, 80, and Justice Stephen Breyer, 78, could step down.

In the event Trump is called to replace 1 of these 3 justices, there would likely be a 5-justice Conservative majority.

In his presidential campaign, finding a Supreme Court justice with Scalia's views was a key pledge, Trump has said.

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