A final confirmation vote is expected Friday, but Judge Gorsuch's fate is no longer in doubt - he will become the ninth justice, filling the seat left vacant more than a year ago by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Senate voted 54 to 45 on Friday to confirm Gorsuch, ending more than a year of bitter partisan conflict over the ideological balance of the nation's highest court.
Recovering from an ankle injury, Collins was seen hobbling around the Senate floor during votes, holding a green folder containing the letter, and talking individually to senators about it.
Gorsuch aligns with Scalia in many aspects of judicial philosophy, but his decisions have suggested that he is skeptical of the idea of judicial deference to administrative agencies. I've had many times during those periods where I've had to pinch myself to say, 'Yeah, you're really here. Gorsuch was on a list of potential justices recommended by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation during the campaign, and some Republicans even credit the Supreme Court vacancy as one reason Trump won the November election.
There are nine judges who sit on the Supreme Court, and they hold the position for life. "I believe our country will benefit from the new energy and experience that Justice Gorsuch will bring to the bench", Roby said.
And heading toward the court is Trump's revamped travel ban on refugees and certain immigrants, a case that Senate Democrats said will test Gorsuch's independence from the man who chose him for the high court. For the reasons I have said, I had concerns about his approach to the law. The rule change was called the "nuclear option" because it was considered an extreme break with Senate tradition. "Taking their lead from the Bully-in-Chief Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell twisted and turned the rules of the Senate to ram this extremist nominee through - slashing and burning safeguards for moderation, such as the rule calling for a 60 votes threshold needed to confirm an Associate Supreme Court Justice", Russell Roybal, the deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said in a statement.
Two other Democrats - Sens.
The judge won support from 51 of the chamber's Republicans as well as three moderate Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won last fall: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. The only senator not to participate in the April 7 confirmation vote was Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) was absent for the vote. The political clash ended only when Republicans voted as a bloc to eliminate the ability of the Senate minority to filibuster Supreme Court nominees. But his repeated refusal to engage on specific Supreme Court cases or policy issues frustrated Democrats concerned that his lighter judicial record on matters, ranging from abortion rights, to environmental protection and campaign finance law, coupled with his refusal to denounce Trump personally for his attacks on federal judges, made it hard to determine his judicial philosophy and potential to be an independent check on the White House.
GOP members described Gorsuch as a highly qualified candidate who refuses to act as a legislator, instead ruling on the basis of a faithful adherence to the Constitution and law.
Democratic opposition to Gorsuch was also fueled by anger over Republicans' blockade of President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to replace Scalia.
During his time on the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch agreed with others on the court the Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate violated the free exercise of religion rights of Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor among other religious groups. Among the cases to be heard is a closely watched case testing whether a Missouri church school was wrongly denied state funding for a program to make playgrounds safer.
Anti-abortion advocates have pointed to Gorsuch's 2006 book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia to explain his anti-abortion stance.