- The U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch as the 113th Supreme Court justice late last week. In a 54 to 45 vote, Gorsuch fills the seat on the High Court left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last year.
- GOP senators invoked the “nuclear option” to bring the nomination to a simple majority vote, ending the Democrats’ filibuster of Pres. Donald Trump’s nominee. In 20 hours of confirmation hearings, the New York Times says Gorsuch supplied little substantive testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will swear in Gorsuch in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court this week. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will administer a second oath in the White House.
Gorsuch’s confirmation is a big win for Trump and conservatives in general. As the Times reports, Gorsuch tips the balance on the High Court towards conservatives on the bench, which could last more than 30 years — long after Trump has left office.
During his confirmation hearings, Gorsuch said he would judge each case on its merit. However, based on his past court decisions and legal writings, it appears his outlook should favor employers when the court takes up workplace issues.
Gorsuch has been staunchly critical of pro-labor court decisions. He’s been particularly scathing of the National Labor Relations Board backing employees’ claims and thinks class-action suits, mostly aimed at big corporations, need reining in. In fact, a case on arbitration clauses in employee agreements will be heard by the court in coming months. The "joint employer" question could also make it to SCOTUS, as could Title VII protections for sexual orientation, which now faces a circuit court split after the 7th circuit's decision last week.