Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Senate Democrats propose penalties for Federal Reserve officials who don't follow ethics code Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal MORE (D-Ore.) on Thursday decried Senate Republicans triggering the so-called nuclear option to advance Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
Merkley, who launched an all-night protest on the Senate floor Tuesday in opposition to Gorsuch's nomination, said in tweets that "the dark deed is done."
The dark deed is done. McConnell has just put a knife into the heart of our We the People republic.— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) April 6, 2017
.@SenateMajLdr is filling this stolen seat with a proponent of the dark mega-money that is corrupting our elections. Unacceptable!— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) April 6, 2017
His comments came after Senate Republicans voted Thursday to strip Democrats of the power to filibuster Supreme Court nominees like Gorsuch.
Senators voted 52-48 along party lines to lower the threshold for advancing nominees from 60 votes to a simple majority.
The historic step was immediately followed by a 55-45 vote to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination and set up a final confirmation vote on Friday.
Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report 21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Democrats try to back Manchin off killing paid family leave proposal MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (Ind.) joined with Republicans to advance Trump’s Supreme Court pick.
A Senate standoff had been brewing between Democrats and Republicans for weeks before Thursday’s events.
Democrats still angry over the Senate GOP's refusal to give former President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing or vote last year vowed to resist Gorsuch’s nomination.
Republicans have argued Democrats would resist any nominee from Trump for the nation’s highest court, regardless of their qualifications.
“The opposition to this particular nominee is more about the man that nominated him and the party he represents than the nominee himself,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell backs Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats insist budget consensus close as talks drag on Manchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks MORE (R-Ky.) said before Thursday’s votes.
Trump nominated Gorsuch in February, arguing he would make a worthy successor to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, whose death in early 2016 left the court mostly deadlocked on ideological lines.