The U.S. Senate on Friday (April 7) confirmed Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, 54-45, after Republicans voted to end the 60-vote filibuster.
Republicans unanimously supported the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals judge along with three Democrats.
The vote followed a filibuster by Democrats that ended with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell using the so-called “nuclear option” – ending for Supreme Court nominees the filibuster, which had previously been ended in 2013 by Democrats for executive branch, trial court and appellate court nominations.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., released this statement: “Judge Gorsuch is now Justice Gorsuch, and I’m glad to see such a distinguished jurist raised to the highest court in the land. I believe he will be a fine addition to the Supreme Court.”
The office of U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., also released a statement.
“The Senate made the right decision for our nation by confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch as a justice on the Supreme Court. His judicial demeanor, professional competence and integrity all exceed what you expect from someone selected to serve on the highest court in the land. It is a shame that my Democrat colleagues forced the Senate to abandon our longstanding tradition by leading a partisan filibuster against a Supreme Court nominee for the first time ever, especially when considering a nominee that is as eminently qualified to serve as Judge Gorsuch. I have confidence that his tenure on the Supreme Court will be defined by the same commitment to the law that he has displayed through the course of his judicial career.”
On April 4, Cotton criticized “radical Democrats” in remarks on the Senate floor, arguing that no Supreme Court nominee, Cabinet nominee or trial court nominee has failed as a result of a filibuster. For example, Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed by only a 52-48 majority, but his nomination was not filibustered. Cotton blamed Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, for filibustering President Bush’s 2003 nominee to the D.C. circuit, Miguel Estrada, and said Democrats have filibustered more judges than Republicans.
“Whatever the reason, there can be no doubt, no doubt, that the minority leader set in motion a chain of events over the last 14 years and brought us to the point he claims to deplore today,” he said. “So the Democrats can spare me any handwringing about Senate traditions and customs.”
Cotton blamed Democrats for ending the filibuster for other offices in 2013 and said when Democrats believed they would be in power last year, they threatened to change the rules. He said if Democrats would filibuster Gorsuch, they would filibuster any Republican nominee.
“I’m not regretful,” he said. “I’m not wracked with guilt. I’m not anguished. I’m really not even disappointed. There are no schoolyard taunts of ‘You did it first.’ There are no charges of hypocrisy. There’s no pox on both our houses. … The minority leader is hoist with his own petard. The Senate is restored to a sensible, centuries-old tradition and Judge Gorsuch is about to become Justice Gorsuch.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson also praised the newest Justice.
“Judge Neil Gorsuch will be an outstanding jurist on the United States Supreme Court. His impressive credentials, integrity and commitment to the Constitution will serve the nation well. His confirmation by the Senate strengthens the conservative voice on the court. I am confident he will work to fill the shoes of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and I look forward to his distinctive and faithful service on the bench for many years to come.”
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released this statement: “I applaud the U.S. Senate, and specifically Arkansas Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, for confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Individuals on both the right and left have praised Judge Gorsuch, and it was made clear during his confirmation hearings that he would be a superb jurist who respects the rule of law and immensely values and understands that the judiciary must be independent.”