Gorsuch's conformation came after bitter partisan warfare in the Senate. Democrats filibustered his nomination, citing previous rulings they did not like, but the subtext went deeper than judicial philosophy. Democrats were furious Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama's nominee to fill the seat left empty by the death of Judge Antonin Scalia last February, was never granted a hearing by Republicans.
After it became clear Gorsuch would not win enough Democratic votes to pass the traditional 60-vote threshold in the Senate, Republicans used the so-called "nuclear option" and gutted longstanding Senate rules for Supreme Court nominees, clearing the way for a simple majority to approve his nomination.
Gorsuch, 49, will become the 113th Supreme Court justice in the nation's history and his ascension could have an immediate impact on several high-profile cases. Since Scalia's death, the court had been ideologically deadlocked, with four liberal justices and four conservatives.