Senate Invoke Nuclear Option, Confirm Gorsuch to Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Neil M. Gorsuch yesterday, after Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) invoked to change the number of votes necessary to confirm nominees. Per ABC News:

The proceedings that make up the nuclear option are somewhat wonky. The majority leader and presiding officer, guided by parliamentary experts, go through a series of choreographed steps in which the leader suggests a change to the rules, the presiding officer challenges him and then the leader calls a vote on a rule change, which requires only a minimum of 51 votes.

After that, the senate has 30 hours to debate and a final vote for confirmation, which they did earlier this morning by a vote of 54-45. In the vote, three democrats supported Gorsuch and one senator didn’t vote.

The so-called “nuclear option” was last used in 2013 by then senate leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to shut down filibusters directed against a number of President Obama’s executive branch and judicial nominations. It’s use yesterday continues to divide an already fractured senate.

As a Supreme Court nominee, Gorsuch is a solid choice. He is a well-respected conservative legal scholar and a strong supporter of the separation of powers, particularly in regards to the executive branch. He has also issued opinions supporting the fourth amendment rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches from law enforcement.