WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Judge Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court's nomination for full Senate vote Friday.
“At the end of the day it is difficult to imagine a judge who is well prepared, well suited and I am honored to support the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
It looks like Senate Republicans may need to use the "nuclear option" to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court this week.
“My conscious will not allow me to ratify the Majority Leaders Action. I cannot and will not support this nomination,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Senate Democrats secured enough votes on Monday to block President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Delaware Sen. Chris Coons became the 40th senator to announce they will vote to block the nomination.
Only three Democrats have said they'll support Gorsuch. Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly is one of them, saying Sunday that Gorsuch is "a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law."
But with 40 votes against Gorsuch, Republicans will need to change confirmation rules if they want to confirm him on a straight majority vote – the so-called "nuclear option." In that case, it would only take 51 votes to confirm Gorsuch instead of 60, which is currently required.
"When a nominee doesn't get sixty votes, you shouldn't change the rules, you should change the nominee," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has argued.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told CNN's "State of the Union" that, no matter what, Gorsuch will be confirmed this week.
"He's a mainstream judge who's earned the universal respect of his colleagues on the bench and in the bar," said Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "He applies the law as we in Congress write it, as the judicial oath says, without respect to persons. And he refuses to compromise his independence."