8 men confirmed by Senate didn't fill Supreme Court seats

Cheryl Sanders
April 14, 2017

The confirmation process was bitter and partisan, especially after the Republican-controlled Senate refused previous year to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, who President Obama nominated for the court.

Gorsuch will be sworn in on Monday in two different ceremonies, one at the court and one at the White House.

With the recent failure of Republican healthcare legislation in Congress and with federal courts blocking the president's ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S., securing Gorsuch's confirmation took on even greater importance for Trump, who took office in January. They believe Republicans "stole" the vacant Supreme Court seat from former President Barack Obama, who past year nominated Merrick Garland to replace the seat left vacant by the late Antonin Scalia. Republicans blocked Barack Obama from filling the seat all past year. If the justices are divided 4 to 4 in any of them, the most likely route to breaking a ties would be to schedule a new round of arguments, with Gorsuch participating.

Trump says in the statement that Gorsuch will serve "with distinction" and continue to "vigorously defend our Constitution".

Georgia republican Johnny Isakson, recovering from back surgery, the missing vote.

"There's a reason Neil Gorsuch enjoys the support of a bipartisan majority of the Senate", McConnell said.

The developments were accompanied by unusually bitter accusations and counter-accusations.

Gorsuch is expected to join a conservative-leaning voting bloc of justices, making five on the nine-member court. And Republicans, who invented the rules of this new game, won't confirm Democratic Supreme Court nominees so long as they control the Senate. Only three Democrats broke ranks to vote in favor of Gorsuch.

WASHINGTON (AP) - After witnessing the grueling confirmation process for Judge Neil Gorsuch, it may be hard to believe people have begged off a seat on the Supreme Court. McConnell vowed that would not happen on his watch.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a senior Republican, warned of the implications of lowering the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees, thereby eliminating any role for the minority party in ratifying the selection.

But McConnell and some of his allies argued that they were simply returning to a time not long ago when judicial filibusters were rarely practiced and Supreme Court filibusters essentially unheard of.

McConnell refused to hold hearings for President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, a move that enraged Democrats but that Republicans now hail as a political master stroke. McConnell told reporters Friday he viewed it as "the most consequential decision I've ever been involved in".

They're the ones who ushered in the era of scorched-earth judicial nominations with their character assassination of Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991. In exit polls, 21 percent of voters called Supreme Court appointments "the most important factor" for their votes, and among those people 56 percent voted for Trump.

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