Senate Dems Reach Magic Number to Block Gorsuch

41 nays mean GOP would have to resort to 'nuclear option' on filibuster
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2017 12:34 PM CDT
Updated Apr 3, 2017 2:37 PM CDT
Senate Dems Reach Magic Number to Block Gorsuch
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch listens as he is asked a question on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is poised to go nuclear. Senate Democrats now have 41 votes against him, enough to hold up his nomination in the Senate by means of a filibuster, reports the AP. In order to circumvent the filibuster, Republicans would have to change the rules of the chamber to allow Gorsuch's nomination to pass by a simple majority, a controversial maneuver known as the "nuclear option," explains the Hill. They are expected to do so later this week: The Judiciary Committee passed Gorsuch's nomination 11-9 on Monday, reports Politico, and it now moves on to the full Senate. GOP leaders have promised a final vote by Friday in order to have him on the court in late April.

Democrats got to 41 on Monday when Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware announced he was on board with his party leaders. "I have decided that I will not support Judge Gorsuch’s nomination," he said. "I am not ready to end debate on this issue. So I will be voting against cloture." Only four Democrats are behind Gorsuch: Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Michael Bennet of Colorado. At the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer accused the Democrats of "setting a very dangerous precedent" with the expected filibuster, per CNN. (Chuck Schumer and most Democrats want a new nominee.)

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