WASHINGTON, April 7 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Senate on Friday voted to approve Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court Justice, after a dramatic year-long partisan battle.
The upper chamber of Congress voted 54-45 in favor of Gorsuch, with Republican Senator from Georgia Johnny Isakson not voting. The result largely repeated an initial voting Thursday that failed to confirm his nomination due to filibuster rules.
Senate Republicans subsequently voted to change the filibuster rules to lower the threshwold of 60 votes of an approval to a simple majority.
The confirmation ended the year-long vacancy left by late Justice Antonin Scalia who died in February 2016.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Merrick Garland to fill the nine-seat bench, but the GOP-controlled Senate refused to hear or to vote on the nomination, saying it was improper for an outgoing president to appoint a Supreme Court Justice.
The action raised furor across the aisle and fed to the divide between the two major political parties.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that it was more sensible for U.S. President Donald Trump to appoint a different candidate, hinting that the grudge over Garland's appointment is still lingering among many Democrats.
Gorsuch's confirmation awarded a symbolic victory to Trump, who has promised to his supporters early on that he would appoint a conservative justice to the Supreme Court.
Gorsuch, a 49-year-old judge sitting on the 10th Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado, is the youngest nominee in 25 years to the lifetime position.
A Colorado native, Gorsuch holds degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. He served as a law clerk for the late Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 1990s. He was appointed to the appeals court by former President George W. Bush in 2006.