State News

Gorsuch becomes next Supreme Court justice despite partisan battle

Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the next U.S. Supreme Court justice Monday.

Following a nearly year-long battle over the late Antonin Scalia’s justice seat, U.S. Senate Republicans emerged victorious as Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in Monday.

Gorsuch’s swearing in as the nation’s new Supreme Court justice comes after a simple majority vote of 54-45 confirmed his appointment Thursday.

A major point of contention was the use of the so-called “nuclear option” Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., which dropped the required votes to end a filibuster on Supreme Court confirmations from 60 to a simple majority of 51 votes.

This move has been criticized for effectively silencing minority opinion in the Senate.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin is embracing and celebrating success in “overcoming historic partisan obstruction” that they saw in Gorsuch’s appointment.

“When Wisconsin voters went to the polls last November, they did so with the Supreme Court in mind,” Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney said.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was one of the 54 Senators who voted for Gorsuch.

“Judge Gorsuch is a highly qualified, mainstream judge who will apply the law as written, rather than alter the law to achieve the outcome he desires,” Johnson said in a statement. “It was a pleasure fulfilling my campaign promise of voting to confirm a judge—not a super legislature or judicial activist—as our next Supreme Court justice.”

Many worry this use of the “nuclear option” will politicize Supreme Court appointments, compromising a branch of government that is theoretically nonpartisan.

Some Wisconsin Democrats have voiced concern about Gorsuch being lenient to President Donald Trump’s administration.

"Donald Trump has made clear that he wants judges who will rubber stamp his extreme, unconstitutional agenda. We should all be deeply worried that that's exactly what he found in Neil Gorsuch” said state Rep. Daniel Riemer, D-Milwaukee, in a release February.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., supported the filibuster that obstructed the first vote to confirm Gorsuch. Once the filibuster ended by a simple majority vote, Baldwin voted against Gorsuch.

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