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Republicans use ‘nuclear option’ to move forward on Gorsuch nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) answers reporters' questions during a news conference Thursday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Senate Republicans changed the body’s rules, lowering the threshold to end debate on a Supreme Court nominee from 60 votes to 51 votes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Republicans used the so-called “nuclear option” Thursday in order to move forward with the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

In a party-line 52-48 vote, Senate Republicans changed the body’s rules, lowering the threshold to end debate on a Supreme Court nominee from 60 votes to 51 votes.

Republicans used the nuclear option after Senate Democrats followed through on their vow to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination to the nation’s highest court.

Democrats — who remain angry about Republican leadership’s refusal to act on former President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, last year — objected to the rule change, although they used the nuclear option during Obama’s administration to confirm all non-Supreme Court executive nominations, including district and circuit court judges.

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