Senate Democrats have enough support to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

Sen. Coons became the 41st senator to say he'll vote against cloture.

ByABC News
April 3, 2017, 3:09 PM

— -- Senate Democrats now have enough support to filibuster a final vote on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, and the move likely puts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a position to invoke the so-called nuclear option.

This option would change Senate rules to allow a simple majority of at least 51 votes, rather than the current threshold of 60, to overcome a filibuster.

This afternoon, Gorsuch cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee by a party-line vote of 11-9 to advance to a full Senate vote.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., became the 41st senator to announce he'll be voting against cloture.

"I'm not ready to end debate on this issue, so I will be voting against cloture unless we are able, as a body, to finally sit down and find a way to avoid the nuclear option," Coons said today, "and ensure the process to fill the the next vacancy on the court is not a narrowly partisan process."

Three other Democratic senators — Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy and Mark Warner — announced earlier today that they will vote against cloture.

McConnell has pledged that Gorsuch will be confirmed on Friday, no matter what.

Republicans made clear that they intend to have Gorsuch confirmed.

"There's never been a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, and we will not start this week. Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed by the end of the week by the United States Senate and take his place as the next associate justice on the United States Supreme Court," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said during a press conference after the committee's vote.

Before the committee's vote, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., advised Democrats not to hold up a final vote on Gorsuch.

"We are headed to a world where you don't need one person from the other side to pick a judge," Graham said.

"And I find ironic and sad that we're going to change the rules over somebody who has lived such a good life, who has been such a good judge for such a long time," he added. "This says more about the Senate that it does Judge Gorsuch."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who is supporting the filibuster, fired back, arguing Senate traditions "started changing a long time ago."

ABC News' Mariam Kahn, Geneva Sands and Ali Rogin contributed to this report.

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