WASHINGTON – Today’s 54-45 roll call confirming Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court is the capstone on yesterday’s landmark victory, when united Senate Republicans, under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), put an end to the ability of Senate Democrats to utilize the filibuster to deny confirmation to Supreme Court nominees of Republican presidents.
Thursday’s party-line 52-48 roll call, ratifying McConnell’s so-called “nuclear option” motion, broke the unprecedented partisan filibuster by which Senate Democrats were preventing a confirmation vote on Gorsuch. The outcome of Thursday’s roll call ensured that future nominees to the Supreme Court who command majority support in the Senate will be confirmed.
McConnell’s successful “nuclear” motion produced a historic victory for Senate Republicans, the President, and the country — and a huge defeat for a coalition of left-wing groups, led by the abortion lobby, that had relentlessly pressured Democratic senators to filibuster the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch,” said National Right to Life Senior Policy Advisor Douglas D. Johnson. “For decades, liberal senators and interest groups had attacked Republican judicial nominees with procedural and political weapons that Republicans were slow to match. This week, the Republicans took decisive action to restore parity to the judicial confirmation process, and we commend them for it.”
A left-wing coalition (“led by NARAL Pro-Choice America,” according to the liberal media outlet Mother Jones) demanded that Senate Democrats filibuster Judge Gorsuch, and all but a few complied, creating the immediate necessity for McConnell’s “nuclear” motion. On today’s roll call, three Democratic senators (Manchin of West Virginia, Donnelly of Indiana, and Heitkamp of North Dakota) joined Senate Republicans in voting to confirm Gorsuch. It should be noted, however, that all three of those senators voted a day earlier to preserve the 60-vote hurdle, even after seeing that to do so would prevent Gorsuch – and presumably, any other nominee not blessed by the abortion lobby and other left-wing activist groups – from being confirmed.
The 60-vote hurdle for all presidential nominations other than Supreme Court was eliminated by Senate Democrats in 2013, when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) employed the same “nuclear” procedure. Prominent Democrats, including Reid himself and vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.), explicitly said in 2016 that Democrats would not hesitate to extend the simple-majority principle to nominations to the Supreme Court, if Republicans ever tried to filibuster the Supreme Court nominee of a Democratic president.
“When they voted on the nuclear option motion, Republican senators really were not deciding whether there should be a 60-vote hurdle for nominees to the Supreme Court — rather, they were deciding whether there should be a 60-vote hurdle only for the Supreme Court nominees of Republican presidents,” Johnson explained.
In a letter sent on March 31, National Right to Life advised U.S. senators of the organization’s strong support for both the nominee and the procedural reform, stressing that contrary votes would fairly be regarded as votes “to perpetrate the type of jurisprudence” found in Roe v. Wade and certain successor rulings. Regarding Judge Gorsuch, the NRLC letter said: “Based on the evidence available, it appears that Judge Gorsuch is the type of nominee that the abortion advocates fear most – one who will take seriously his oath to defend the Constitution, even when this produces results that may outrage certain elites. They fear that Judge Gorsuch will fail to find in the Constitution any provision that denies a self-governing people the right to fashion laws that recognize the humanity of unborn members of the human family. We agree with that assessment, because there is no such provision to find.”
National Right to Life President Carol Tobias concluded,
“All too often, our efforts to protect unborn children and other vulnerable humans have been overridden by judges who believe they have a right to impose their own policy preferences. Judge Gorsuch appears to believe that judges are constrained to enforce the text and original intent of constitutional provisions, and on all other matters should defer to democratically elected lawmakers – this heartens us, and alarms those who have relied on activist judges to impose their radical pro-abortion policies.”