File - In this Jan. 31, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Judge Neil Gorsuch in East Room of the White House in Washington, as he announces Grouch as his nominee for the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court has given President Donald Trump – the first truly outsider president in recent memory – his first major legislative achievement.Gorsuch, a well-respected, conservative legal star with a traditional background, won Senate approval Friday, serving as a testament to the power of well-organized establishment Republican forces and a reminder of the ability of judicial fights to unite Republicans.Gorsuch's confirmation required Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to eliminate the 60-vote threshold, dubbed the "nuclear option," to ensure approval with a simple majority. Gorsuch's success – and health care's failure – shines a light on the ability of judicial battles to energize Republicans, who have long railed against judicial overreach and courts acting in ways reserved for the legislative branch.Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, said the importance of McConnell's decision to refuse to consider Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland and ability to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court picks could not be overstated. He said Gorsuch's selection managed to unite Republicans and pave the way for a more conservative court.
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