President Donald Trump has already declared victory over the Supreme Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was on the verge of confirming Neil Gorsuch as the next justice to the court.
In a statement on Friday, the president said Kennedy’s nomination had been confirmed, with only one dissenting vote.
The President tweeted that Gorsuch was confirmed and that his confirmation “would restore the constitutional principle of judicial independence, and allow for the free flow of information to the people.”
“The Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of our nation are written to protect the people, and it is up to us to defend those who seek to subvert them,” Trump said.
“I’m so proud of my administration, and we’re so grateful to all of the members of the Senate who helped pass this historic legislation.”
As of Friday morning, Trump had 553 votes in his own chamber to confirm Gorsuch, with 50 senators voting for the president.
The Supreme Court has been divided on the issue of religious liberty since 2016, when the justices ruled that the Affordable Care Act could not prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to employees or their dependents for reasons including sex or gender identity.
The decision left in place a law that exempted companies from having to provide coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, abortions, and transgender individuals.
The Trump administration has continued to defend the law as a means of ensuring women’s access to birth control.
“This is a big win for religious liberty,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Twitter on Friday.
“The Supreme court made it clear that religious liberty can trump all other interests,” McConnell said.