The U.S. Senate on Friday voted 54 to 45 to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, filling the seat left vacant for more than a year after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Gorsuch’s confirmation returns the Court to a bench with nine justices and a 5-4 conservative majority. Gorsuch gets his spot on the Roberts Court after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to hold hearings on President Obama’s pick to replace Scalia, Merrick Garland.
Republicans hold a 52-48 Senate majority. Thanks to a rule change by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that altered the way Supreme Court justices are confirmed, Gorsuch’s confirmation vote required only a simple majority, not the 60-vote threshold Democrats had used to filibuster President Trump’s nomination.
Gorsuch, 49, will likely be on the Court for decades.