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On April 10, Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court after being confirmed by a vote of 54 – 45 in the U.S. Senate. ABC supported his confirmation. The vote was along party lines; however, three Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (W.V.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), voted with the Republican majority to confirm Judge Gorsuch.

Faced with a Democratic filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell elected to change Senate rules and invoke the “nuclear option,” which allowed Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed by the Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes instead of a supermajority of 60 votes.  The confirmation of Judge Gorsuch will put nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been operating with only eight justices since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, 2016.

ABC sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee April 3 urging them to swiftly approve the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and the committee voted 11 – 9 to send the nomination to the full Senate. Following the committee vote, ABC sent a letter to members of the full Senate on April 5 urging them to vote yes on cloture to prevent a Democratic filibuster and ensure that the Senate had the opportunity to vote on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. Although the vote on cloture failed, Judge Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a simple majority after the Senate rule change.