LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ senators and top state officials hailed the Senate’s confirmation Friday of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gorsuch, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver since 2006, was confirmed in a 54-45 vote. He will replace the late Antonin Scalia.
Democrats, who for months were stymied by Republicans in efforts to confirm former President Barack Obama’s court pick, filibustered President Donald Trump’s nominee. They ultimately were unable to block his confirmation, however, when Republicans invoked the so-called “nuclear option,” changing Senate rules so that Gorsuch could be confirmed by a simple-majority vote without the 60 votes normally needed for a bill to advance to a final vote on the floor.
Arkansas Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton, both Republicans, voted in the majority.
“The Senate made the right decision for our nation by confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch as a justice on the Supreme Court,” Boozman said in a statement. “His judicial demeanor, professional competence and integrity all exceed what you expect from someone selected to serve on the highest court in the land.”
Booozman also said it was “a shame that my Democrat colleagues forced the Senate to abandon our longstanding tradition by leading a partisan filibuster against a Supreme Court nominee for the first time ever, especially when considering a nominee that is as eminently qualified to serve as Judge Gorsuch.”
Cotton said in a statement, “Judge Gorsuch is now Justice Gorsuch, and I’m glad to see such a distinguished jurist raised to the highest court in the land. I believe he will be a fine addition to the Supreme Court.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said in a statement, “Judge Neil Gorsuch will be an outstanding jurist on the United States Supreme Court. His impressive credentials, integrity and commitment to the Constitution will serve the nation well. His confirmation by the Senate strengthens the conservative voice on the court. I am confident he will work to fill the shoes of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and I look forward to his distinctive and faithful service on the bench for many years to come.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, also a Republican, said, “I applaud the U.S. Senate, and specifically Arkansas Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, for confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Individuals on both the right and left have praised Judge Gorsuch, and it was made clear during his confirmation hearings that he would be a superb jurist who respects the rule of law and immensely values and understands that the judiciary must be independent.”