Senate confirms Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

The U.S. Senate Friday confirmed appellate court Judge Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The historic move came after Republicans deployed the so-called "nuclear option," or a simple majority vote, in order to end debate and guarantee Gorsuch's confirmation.

The conservative jurist was President Donald Trump's nominee to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in early 2016.

The 54-45 vote, in which three Democrats crossed party lines to support the appeals court justice, is expected to restore a 5-4 conservative lean on the bench. At 49, Gorsuch could help shape the court for decades.

Republicans praised Gorsuch, but Democrats continue to express outrage that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for refusing to even meet with olet alone hold hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's nominee to fill Scalia's seat. That led to Trump nominating Gorsuch after he defeated Hillary Clinton in November and became president.

Democrats gave Gorsuch the courtesy of meetings and hearings, but ultimately moved to derail his nomination by staging a filibuster this week. That prompted the GOP to invoke the so-called nuclear option.

"It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court a more partisan place," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said of the rule change.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. will administer the Constitutional Oath to Gorsuch in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court the morning of April 10, the court said in a statement. Then Gorsuch will take the Judicial Oath at a public ceremony at the White House.