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U.S. Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch as next Supreme Court Justice

The Senate took a vote Friday morning.
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The Supreme Court of the United States has its newest justice – Judge Neil Gorsuch.

The U.S. Senate took a vote on Friday morning, NPR reports, a day after the Republican majority voted to invoke a rule change referred to as the "nuclear option," which allowed Republicans to override Democrats' attempts to delay a vote on Gorsuch with a simple majority, instead of with 60 votes.

Gorsuch becomes the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, NPR notes, as the 49-year-old takes the place vacated following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

The New York Times reports Vice President Mike Pence presided over the final vote on Friday just in case he was required to cast a tie-breaking vote as the president of the Senate, but this was not needed in the end.

It follows a more than a year of recriminations between America's two main parties, with Democrats furious that Republican members of Congress refused to hold a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, who former President Barack Obama nominated for SCOTUS in the wake of Scalia's death.

The Washington Post reports Gorsuch is likely to be sworn in in the coming days and is expected to weigh in one several cases over the coming months, with gun rights and the right to deny service to same-sex customers among those set to be debated.

Gorsuch's confirmation will give the SCOTUS a 5-4 conservative majority, which was a major campaign talking point for the Republican Party and President Donald Trump during the 2016 election trail, Reuters notes.

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