Gorsuch’s Nomination Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee

By Nethani Palmani | Apr 04, 2017 10:07 AM EDT

Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington. He was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left on the court following the sudden death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. (Photo : Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and sent to the Senate. The 11-9 vote for Gorsuch's nomination was along party lines.

Democrats secured enough votes to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination, according to Washington Post. It could have led Republicans to change the rules so there is no need to get 60 votes to end the debate. The count, however, was finalized as Democrats announced their decisions at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.

During the confirmation hearing for Gorsuch's nomination, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, made an opening statement, calling Gorsuch "a mainstream judge" who is eminently qualified. "He's a picture of the kind of justice we should have on the Supreme Court," Grassley said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, on the contrary, indicated that she would not support the confirmation. Feinstein called it an unusual nomination, referring to Gorsuch's nomination.

She highlighted Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. Another Democrat who voted against Gorsuch's nomination was Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, as USA Today reported.

"I cannot support advancing this nomination," Leahy said. However, Democrats insisted that their lack of support towards Gorsuch's nomination is not a "payback." They cited his account of workers' rights issues and his independence from Trump, amongst other issues.

Leahy added that Gorsuch gave evasive answers during the confirmation hearings, including on whether the right to abortion was settled law. "Unless we were talking about fishing or basketball, Judge Gorsuch stonewalled," Leahy said.

Supporters of Gorsuch's nomination, on the other side, appeared skeptical that the Senate, who members did not use a filibuster for even some fierce nominees like Justice Clarence Thomas, came undone over a judge they view as qualified and controversial. They find it ridiculous that the members picked someone of Gorsuch's quality and ability to oppose.

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