GOING NUCLEAR: GORSUCH SENATE PANEL WIN SETS STAGE FOR SHOWDOWN OVER SCOTUS CONFIRMATION

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted by an 11-9 margin an on Monday to endorse Judge Neil Gorsuch as president Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, a move that most political analysts say sets the stage for a showdown between Democratic and Republican senators later this week.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says she will vote to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, becoming the 36th Democratic senator to say they will do whatever it takes to block the conservative judge’s appointment.

Republicans had hoped that McCaskill, who is up for reelection in a conservative state, would approve Gorsuch given her state’s support for Trump. That didn’t happen, however, as McCaskill said she “cannot support Judge Gorsuch because a study of his opinions reveal a rigid ideology that always puts the little guy under the boot of corporations.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Monday that he is confident that his fellow Democrats can deny Republicans the eight votes needed to advance Gorsuch via filibuster.

Republicans, however, say they have no issue with using the so called “nuclear option”, a change in precedent that would allow the Senate to break the filibuster with a simple majority of 51 votes.to push Gorsuch’s confirmation through.

“The nominee’s opponents have tried to find a fault with him that will stick. And it just hasn’t worked,” said committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who allowed all 20 members to speak before the final vote. “Judge Gorsuch is eminently qualified. He’s a mainstream judge who’s earned the universal respect of his colleagues on the bench and in the bar. He applies the law as we in Congress write it.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that despite Democrats’ best efforts, one way or another Gorsuch will be confirmed by Friday.

President Trump has told his fellow Republicans to do “whatever is necessary” to secure Gorsuch’s confirmation.

Speaking to reporters in February after Gorsuch’s nomination, the president said of using the nuclear option, “I would say, it’s up to Mitch, but I would say ‘go for it.'”

If confirmed, Gorsuch will fill the Supreme Court seat left by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

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