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New Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch speaking last month during his confirmation hearing. (Screengrab via C-SPAN)

'Gift to the Billionaires and Corporate Interests': Neil Gorsuch Confirmed

Gorsuch's confirmation reinstates a conservative majority to the Supreme Court

Andrea Germanos

A day after it triggered the so-called "nuclear option," the U.S. Senate on Friday voted to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch

The vote was 54-45, with three Democrats—Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—joining with Republicans to restore a conservative majority to the court and place as its 113th justice a man whose record on women's rights, LGBTQ rights, worker protections, and big money in politics drew criticism from a range of advocacy groups.

NPR writes:

Though he obfuscated and evaded on many questions put to him during his confirmation hearing, all indications are that he will vote most often with the court's conservative block of justices, providing a fifth vote for a conservative majority in 5-4 cases.

Gorsuch, who's 49 years old, will be sworn in Monday.

"The outcome," the Associated Press writes,

was a major win for Trump, his biggest congressional victory to date, as well as for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who kept [Antonin] Scalia's seat open after the justice's death in February 2016. 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.

"Senate Republicans handed Donald Trump and big corporations a victory today, but make no mistake about it: the American people lost," said David Donnelly, president and CEO of the campaign finance watchdog Every Voice.

"Neil Gorsuch is a gift to the billionaires and corporate interests trying to buy policies to pollute our water and help Wall Street banks cheat people out of their savings. On the Supreme Court, Gorsuch will be another thumb on the scales of justice for the powerful, and we fear the Court will continue to make it harder for everyday people to be heard in our elections," Donnelly continued.

Added Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an over 200-member strong coalition: "The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is an unhappy day to those Americans committed to justice and equality for all."

Referencing the rewriting of the Senate rules to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees, Henderson said: "His confirmation will forever be tainted by the Republican Senate majority's callous disregard for the historic rules and traditions of the Senate. Judge Gorsuch's ascension to the Court was abetted by his refusal to answer questions on his views on basic settled law like Brown v. Board of Education."

"It is patently unfair and deeply disappointing that those who abused Senate rules to block President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland and then changed Senate rules to approve Judge Gorsuch will be rewarded for their bad behavior. The American people should long remember these alarming and unprecedented actions," he added.

"The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is an unhappy day to those Americans committed to justice and equality for all."
—Wade Henderson, The Leadership Conference
Speaking on the Senate floor ahead of the final vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said of the rule-change: "I believe it will make this body a more partisan place. It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter. And I believe it will make the Supreme Court a more partisan place. As a result, Americans' faith in the integrity of the court and their trust in the basic impartiality of the law will suffer."

He said he hopes Gorsuch listened to the Senate debate, "particularly about our concerns about the Supreme Court increasingly drifting towards becoming a more pro-corporate court that favors employers, corporations, and special interests over working Americans."

"We need a justice on the court that will swing it back in the direction of the people," Schumer said.

But, according to Bill Moyers, with Gorsuch, "the corporate class have their perfect manservant for the Supreme Court."

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