Senate Democrats now have enough support to filibuster a final vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, but the move puts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a likely position to invoke the so-called “nuclear option.”
This option would require changing Senate rules to allow a simple majority of 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, also announced this morning that they would vote against cloture.
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Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged that Gorsuch will be confirmed on Friday, no matter what.
Ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on Gorsuch, 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,” Graham said of Gorsuch. “This says more about the Senate that it does Judge Gorsuch.”
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who is supporting the Democrats’ 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.