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Senate 'goes nuclear' for Gorsuch confirmation vote

April 6, 2017

The Senate has voted to “go nuclear” and eliminate the filibuster for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and future court picks.

The change dubbed “the nuclear option” came Thursday on a procedural motion and removes a 60-vote filibuster requirement for Neil Gorsuch. The Senate is expected to confirm the appellate court judge on Friday to fill a vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised a point of order to change the rules “under the precedent set on Nov. 21, 2013,” when Senate Democrats who were then in the majority made the same move for lower court and executive branch nominations.

Earlier, a motion by Senate Democrats to delay the Gorsuch confirmation vote until April 24 failed. Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer called the vote after an exchange on the floor in which he noted Republicans’ obstruction of former President Barack Obama’s nominees, including his pick for the same Supreme Court seat, Merrick Garland.

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