The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] on Monday voted to endorse [nomination record] Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court 11-9, setting up a confirmation vote before the full Senate later this week. Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley stated [text, PDF] that “Judge Gorsuch is eminently qualified. He’s a mainstream judge who’s earned the universal respect of his colleagues on the bench and in the bar. He applies the law as we in Congress write it.” However, Judge Gorsuch did not receive a single vote from a Democrat on the committee. Democratic Senators are expected to fillibuster Judge Gorsuch’s appointment [Reuters report] by preventing a super majority. It is unclear whether majority Republicans will attempt to push Judge Gorsuch’s nomination through with the “nuclear option” where they would change the policy to only require a simple majority for a Supreme Court nomination. Many Democrats have appeared to protest Gorsuch’s nomination after former President Obama’s later-term appointment of Chief Judge Marrick Garland was prevented by the Republican majority. A vote on Gorsuch’s nomination is expected to occur this Friday.
Supreme Court appointments have been a highly politicized issue [JURIST op-ed] over the past year, since the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump nominated Gorsuch [JURIST report] in January to fill the late Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court seat. Some have argued that Gorsuch’s nomination should be contested and blocked after the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland by former president Barack Obama expired in January without a vote [JURIST reports]. Others argue that judicial appointments deserve to be treated in a non-partisan manner [JURIST op-ed]. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in November attempted to force a vote on former nominee Garland.