Despite earlier objections, Republican Senator Bob Corker voted with his party to launch the so-called nuclear option. That changes the rules for how Supreme Court justices are confirmed.
Last week, Corker made an impassioned speech on the floor of the US Senate against the move. He argued that this modification was a dangerous precedent and would lead to using the same procedure for lawmaking.
"If we continue on the path we’re on right now," he said, "the very next time there’s a legislative proposal that one side of the aisle feels is so important they cannot let their base down, the pressure builds, then we’re going to invoke the nuclear option on the legislative piece."
Corker even called into question the maturity and dedication of colleagues on both sides of the political aisle.
"If we don’t have respect for the institution we serve in ourselves, no one else is," Corker said.
Tennessee’s other US Senator, Lamar Alexander, had indicated he would vote for the nuclear option, to shoot down the Democrats’ filibuster of Judge Neal Gorsuch.
Alexander released a statement following the action on Thursday:
"Senate Democrats have once again gone into a room and convinced themselves to do something that has never been done before in the 230-year history of the Senate — to require more than 51 votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. The nomination of Judge Gorsuch should be decided — as Supreme Court nominations have always been for 230 years — by a majority vote.”