In some ways the use of the "nuclear option" to destroy the Supreme Court filibuster was a long time coming; Democrats were floating it a year ago when Republicans suggested they'd block a putative President Clinton's nominee to the Supreme Court.
The vote mostly went along party lines, although three Democrats - Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp - did voted to confirm Gorsuch's nomination.
While Gorsuch has a reputation as a conservative, Loewy said that can be deceptive, as it does not tell you where he is on certain questions.
While lamenting the need for a rules change, Republicans said they had no choice but to act. A fourth Senate Democrat, Michael Bennet from Gorsuch's home state of Colorado, has said he will not join in the filibuster against Gorsuch but has not said how he will vote on confirmation. Gorsuch's confirmation as the 113th Supreme Court justice is expected on April 7. On Thursday, Republican Senators invoked the "nuclear option" to break a Democratic filibuster, a move that could echo for years.
Democrats escalated their attacks against Judge Neil Gorsuch ahead of key votes set for Thursday, portraying him as an ally of the powerful and an enemy of the weak.
Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy both opposed the confirmation, saying they doubted Gorsuch's independence from the White House and were concerned about his "originalist" leanings. President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch in late January, roughly a week and a half into his term.
But lowering the threshold for a Supreme Court pick is a more significant step.
Gorsuch was on a list of potential justices recommended by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation during the campaign, and some Republicans even credit the Supreme Court vacancy as one reason Trump won the November election.
Loewy, the George R. Killam chair of criminal law at the Texas Tech University School of Law, said he has not studied all of Gorsuch's opinions, but he said the new justice is qualified academically and comes in with more than a decade of experience as a federal judge. "I believe he will serve the American people well."?? The change allowed the Senate to proceed to the final vote with a simple majority. In exit polls, 21 percent of voters called Supreme Court appointments "the most important factor" to their vote, and among those people 56 percent voted for Trump. Johnny Isakson, Georgia Republican, who is recovering from surgery, missed the vote.
McConnell has now continued his strong-arm tactics by dismantling the filibuster as a tool the minority party can use against Supreme Court nominees to whom it has serious objections.