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Neil Gorsuch confirmed as associate justice of US Supreme Court

After a key Senate rules change and months of debate, Neil Gorsuch was confirmed 54-45 by the Senate to be the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the "nuclear option" April 6 after Democrats retained enough votes to filibuster the nominee. The rule change allowed Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of the regular 60-vote threshold.

Democrats united to block the nominee, forcing McConnell's hand to set off a series of procedural votes that effectively struck down the 60-vote precedent for Supreme Court nominees.