They invoked the “nuclear option” after Democrats used a tactic known as a filibuster for the first time in half a century to block the nominee.

Colorado appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch will now be approved on Friday.

The unprecedented wrangle is likely to leave the US Congress even more plagued by bickering and deadlock.

Republicans – who control the upper chamber by 52 seats to 48 – had fallen five votes short of the 60 needed to confirm the Colorado appeals court judge.

With ideological control of the nation’s highest court hanging in the balance, the Republican-led Senate voted 52-48 along party lines on Thursday to overturn the chamber’s rules.

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