Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch, of Colorado, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: Neil M. Gorsuch, of Colorado, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
This was the first of four significant votes on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to be a Supreme Court Justice. This vote was the first vote on cloture for Gorsuch's nomination and took place under the old rules of the Senate in which a cloture vote on a Supreme Court nomination required 3/5ths of elected senators to vote in the affirmative.
A vote on cloture is a vote to limit further debate and move to an up-or-down vote, in other words to prevent a filibuster. With only 55 votes in favor, 5 short of the 60 required, the Democrats blocked cloture so that they could filibuster the nomination.
Following this vote, in Senate vote #109, the rule for cloture on Supreme Court nominations was changed to a simple majority. In Senate vote #110, the cloture vote was retaken under the new rules and with 55 votes again, 4 more than was needed on the second attempt, cloture was approved and further debate was limited. Gorsuch was confirmed in the final vote the following day.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader, voted on the winning side -- against his true position -- strategically so that he could ask that the vote be re-taken later, after the Senate's rules had been changed.
Cloture Motion Rejected. 3/5 Required. Source: senate.gov.
The Yea votes represented 47% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.
Ideology Vote Chart
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), the Senate Majority Leader, voted Nay against his party.
Somtimes a party leader will vote on the winning side, even if it is against his or her position, to have the right to call for a new vote under a motion to reconsider. For more, see this explanation from The Washington Post.
We do not know the rationale behind any vote, however.
“Aye” and “Yea” mean the same thing, and so do “No” and “Nay”. Congress uses different words in different sorts of votes.
The U.S. Constitution says that bills should be decided on by the “yeas and nays” (Article I, Section 7). Congress takes this literally and uses “yea” and “nay” when voting on the final passage of bills.
All Senate votes use these words. But the House of Representatives uses “Aye” and “No” in other sorts of votes.
|Yea||LA||R||Kennedy, John Neely||0.6867512976452176|
|Nay||NV||D||Cortez Masto, Catherine||0.26917501554249723|
|Nay||MD||D||Van Hollen, Chris||0.22079226382909278|
|Nay||KY||R||McConnell, Mitch *||0.7949613690544788|
Statistically Notable Votes
Statistically notable votes are the votes that are most surprising, or least predictable, given how other members of each voter’s party voted and other factors.
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You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page.
What was the procedure for this vote?
- What was this vote on?
Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.
You can learn more about the various motions used in Congress at EveryCRSReport.com. If you aren’t sure what the Senate was voting on, try seeing if it’s on this list.
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- How did your senators vote?
- How much of the United States population is represented by the yeas?
Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?
There are two votes here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your senators, which are meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your senators voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?
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GovTrack displays the percentage of the United States population represented by the yeas on some Senate votes just under the vote totals. We do this to highlight how the people of the United States are represented in the Senate. Since each state has two senators, but state populations vary significantly, the individuals living in each state have different Senate representation. For example, California’s population of near 40 million is given the same number of senators as Wyoming’s population of about 600,000.
Do the senators who voted yea represent a majority of the people of the United States? Does it matter?
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