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Senate panel to vote on Trump's Supreme Court nominee

Senate panel to vote on Trump's Supreme Court nominee

Only two Democrats, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have announced support for Gorsuch. Three other Democratic senators who face elections next year have announced they are backing Gorsuch: Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of IN, who made his announcement earlier Sunday. It's the latest twist in the political wrangling that has surrounded the high court vacancy nearly from the moment Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016.

The GOP now has 52 Senate seats while the Democrats have 48.

Senate Democrats who are planning to hold up Gorsuch's nomination by filibustering him argue that Supreme Court nominees have a 60-vote threshold to get approved by the Senate, which is not exactly true.

In fact, Donnelly wrote in a statement.

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee is expected to advance on Monday towards a full Senate vote, setting the stage for a major political showdown.

Republican Senate leaders insist Gorsuch will be confirmed on Friday whatever the Democrats do, enabling the Republican president to deliver on a major campaign pledge.

Tester represents a state won by Trump and faces re-election, too, but he said Gorsuch did not directly answer questions when the two met or during the confirmation hearing. He added: "How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week, which suggests he'll invoke the so-called "nuclear option" if Democrats attempt to filibuster the selection.

McConnell declined to say if he had sufficient support among his fellow Republicans to change the Senate's rules.

"We can't let them just stop one of the best nominees ever nominated to the Supreme Court because their far left constituencies are screaming and shouting", Hatch said.

Democrat leader Chuck Schumer told NBC's Meet The Press that Gorsuch "will not reach the 60-vote margin".

In the middle of the storm is Gorsuch, 49, a folksy but scholarly Coloradan whose résumé and reverence for the Constitution, laws and precedents have captivated Republicans and unnerved Democrats.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, also a member of the committee, said he would support using the "nuclear option" to overcome Democratic objections to Gorsuch but hoped such a move would not be necessary.

The Garland episode - along with the unsettled political landscape involving President Trump - have combined to push many Democrats to heatedly oppose the Gorsuch nomination.

The committee's chairman, Republican Chuck Grassley, defended Gorsuch as a mainstream jurist worthy of confirmation despite the complaints of many Democrats, and that "there isn't a whole lot of mystery" that the panel will approve the nomination. Only once before has a filibuster blocked a high court nominee: Justice Abe Fortas, whose 1968 nomination to be chief justice later was withdrawn.

"Merrick Garland should be a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court".

We may be on the verge of taking that down to a simple majority now for all judges, the Supreme Court, and the Cabinet. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill - another Democrat up for reelection in 2018 and from a state that voted for Trump - announced she was for a filibuster.

He noted that Gorsuch initially declined to say whether he agreed with the court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education desegregating schools.

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