Trump Supreme Court Pick Neil Gorsuch Faces Senate Showdown

Gorsuch gave three days of testimony to the Senate panel last month

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

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to approve Neil Gorsuch, but Democrats are planning to use a tactic known as a filibuster to thwart his confirmation.

Republicans may then resort to the so-called “nuclear option”, changing the rules to ram through their nominee.

The standoff could leave Congress even more plagued by bitter gridlock.

Republicans control the Senate Judiciary Committee by 11 to 9, so Mr Gorsuch seems assured of passing that hurdle.

The party also controls the chamber by 52 to 48, but they will need 60 votes to secure the conservative Denver appeal court judge’s nomination if Democrats filibuster, as seems increasingly likely.

Only three Democrats – Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota – have said they will vote for Mr Gorsuch.

All three represent states won by Mr Trump during the election.

But Joe Tester of Montana, another state that voted for Mr Trump, said on Sunday evening he would join fellow Democrats who oppose Mr Gorsuch.

The full Senate chamber is expected to vote on Friday after three days of debate.

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