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"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has publicly promised to confirm Gorsuch on Friday no matter what, which means either eight Democrats need to side with 52 Republicans to clear the 60-vote hurdle to move forward with Gorsuch's nomination, or McConnell will invoke the nuclear option to lower that hurdle to 51 votes to make it happen", reports NPR.

Democrats, meanwhile, push back by saying Republicans launched the ultimate filibuster previous year by blocking President Barack Obama's pick of Merrick Garland from getting a hearing or committee vote, keeping the seat vacant until a new president was sworn in.

McConnell assured that legislative filibusters would remain intact and not a "single member" wants to see the legislative filibuster go away.

"Democrats used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been the standard for almost four decades", the Washington Post reported at the time in 2013.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Senate Democrats will have their weekly closed-door lunch, where they expect to get guidance from leadership on how they should treat the next few days leading up to and during the rules change and the votes, including whether they undertake some sort of coordinated visual protest like signs or pins.

Chris Coons of DE became the 41st Senate Democrat to oppose Gorsuch's nomination, giving Democrats enough votes to filibuster President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court.

McConnell has strongly indicated - but hasn't said outright - that he would change Senate rules so that Gorsuch can be confirmed with a simple majority in the 100-seat chamber.

Gorsuch has spent more than a decade on the federal appeals bench in Denver where he's issued consistently conservative rulings, and he appeared on Trump's list of potential candidates partly generated by the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation during the campaign. "I can not vote exclusively to protect an institution", Sen.

Debate over the 49-year-old appellate judge gets under way in the full Senate today, with Republicans and Democrats bitterly divided over the next steps.

Floor action: The cloture motion, which at this moment requires 60 votes, "ripens" and is ready to be voted on. A divided Senate Judiciary Committee backed Gorsuch, Monday, April 3, 2017.

The Arizona Republican then observed that lowering the threshold now will have long-term ramifications for the Senate. They don't have to break the Senate confirmation process - fundamentally weakening the constitutional principle of "advice and consent" - to get a Justice on the bench. And the process has been drawn out further by Republican senators' refusal to even meet with President Obama's nominee, much less hold an actual hearing to fill the vacancy.

Gorsuch will be confirmed "and he should be", John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said during Monday's debate. Democrats on Monday reached the 41 senators necessary to filibuster Gorsuch, even as he passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.

Democrats claim the Republicans' treatment of Garland was worse than anything they ever did or are doing, and with Trump in the White House they are under intense pressure from liberal voters to oppose the president on every front.


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