WASHINGTON – Colorado appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch was on Friday confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the next Supreme Court justice.
Gorsuch becomes the ninth member of the current Supreme Court, filling a seat vacant for more than a year after Justice Antonin Scalia died a little more than a year ago.
He becomes the 113th Supreme Court Justice of the United States.
Gorsuch is also the first justice to be confirmed by a simple majority vote. Senate Republicans invoked the “nuclear option” Thursday that now will require a simple majority of just 51 votes for Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R) voted to confirm Gorsuch, while Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet voted against confirming the judge. Both introduced Gorsuch to their colleagues at the onset of his confirmation hearings.
Gardner said “it is a proud day for Colorado and the United States” to have Gorsuch confirmed.
“Neil Gorsuch has a deep understanding of Western issues and future generations of Coloradans will benefit from his service to our country,” Bennet said. “Both Democrats and Republicans in Colorado who know Gorsuch best supported his confirmation to the Court.”
“I am confident in his credentials, his experience, and his firm commitment to the Constitution,” Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said after the Senate vote. “Justice Gorsuch is an outstanding representative of the great state of Colorado, and I am convinced that he will be an exceptional servant to the American people on the bench of the Supreme Court.”
"Congratulations to Judge Neil Gorsuch on his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court!" Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., tweeted. "Judge Gorsuch's thoughtfulness, Colorado values, and experience will allow him to apply the law justly, according to its original intent."
"Congratulations to Colorado's Neil Gorsuch on being confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court!" Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., tweeted.
Gorsuch, a Boulder native, is seen by many as a conservative in Scalia’s framing. He has over the years argued for a hand-off approach from the federal government involving states, including the dissent to a majority rule allowing a federal challenge to a Colorado law requiring approval of new taxes from voters.
But Democratic and other liberal groups have said that his past decisions on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights issues are out of line with their viewpoints.
Bennet said Thursday after Republicans used the nuclear option that he believed Gorsuch was a “very conservative judge and not one that [he] would have chosen” and that he “had concerns about his approach to the law.”
But he also slammed the decision to invoke the nuclear option, which he had cautioned against earlier this week while also cautioning his Democratic colleagues not to filibuster Gorsuch’s confirmation. Bennet had also lamented most Senate Republicans' failure to even meet with the judge President Obama nominated to replace Scalia, Merrick Garland.
As of publication of this article, the vote was 54-45, with Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson not voting.
Gorsuch is the second Coloradan to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, after Justice Byron White.