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The Latest: Dems outraged over rules change for high court

Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell | Photo: AP.

April 06, 2017 05:34 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Senate debate on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

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Republicans have torn up the Senate's rules to allow President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee to ascend to the high court over Democratic objections.

The confrontation could reshape the Supreme Court for generations.

Outraged Democrats are denouncing the GOP's use of the so-called nuclear option to put Judge Neil Gorsuch on the high court, calling it an epic power grab that will further corrode politics in Congress, the courts and the nation.

Many Republicans are bemoaning the change, too, but they are blaming Democrats for pushing them into it.

The move likely ensures more ideological justices chosen without consultation with the minority party.

A final vote on Gorsuch is expected Friday, and he could be sworn in to take his seat in time to hear the term's final cases.

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1 p.m.

The Senate has cleared the way for a Friday confirmation vote on President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 55-45 to successfully block Judge Neil Gorsuch, denying Republicans the 60 votes they needed to move forward. Republicans then voted to eliminate the 60-vote threshold, allowing them to proceed to the Friday vote with a simple majority.

The change is dubbed "the nuclear option" because it will make it easier for the majority to confirm its Supreme Court nominees in the future. Then-majority Democrats made a similar move in 2013 for lower court judges and executive branch nominees.

Under the new rules, the Senate voted 55-45 to move ahead on the nomination. After the standard 30 hours of debate, Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed.

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12:35 p.m.

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

The move could change the Senate and court for generations. It came Thursday on a procedural motion.

The change is dubbed "the nuclear option." It removes a 60-vote filibuster requirement for Neil Gorsuch. The Senate is expected to confirm the appellate court judge on Friday.

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.

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12:20 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has moved to change the rules of the Senate to confirm Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

If successful, the motion would remove a 60-vote filibuster requirement for Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch and all future high court nominees.

The Senate is expected to vote soon on the motion, which is dubbed "the nuclear option" because it could change the Senate and the court for generations.

McConnell raised a point of order to change the rules "under the precedent set on Nov. 21, 2013," when then-majority Senate Democrats made the same move for lower court and executive branch nominations.

The chamber is now voting on motions called by Democrats as a delaying tactic.

After the rules change, Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed Friday.

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12:05 p.m.

A motion by Senate Democrats to delay the vote on Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch until April 24 has failed.

The vote was a delaying tactic by Democrats. 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.

The Senate on Thursday voted 55-45 to successfully filibuster Gorsuch's nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to change Senate rules to remove a 60-vote filibuster requirement for Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees, reducing it to a simple majority in the 100-member Senate.

After the change, Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed Friday.

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11:30 a.m.

Senate Democrats have blocked President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court.

The Senate voted 55-45 to successfully filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch. Republicans are planning to unilaterally change Senate rules to remove a 60-vote filibuster requirement for Gorsuch and all future Supreme Court nominees, reducing it to a simple majority in the 100-member Senate.

Democrats opposing Gorsuch say they believe he would favor corporations over workers and would be on the far right of the court.

They are angry over the Republican blockade last year of President Barack Obama's nominee for the same seat, Merrick Garland.

If confirmed, Gorsuch will fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, 14 months ago.

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(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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