Here's how senators plan to vote on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

Posted at 2:12 PM, Mar 27, 2017

Republicans are considering their next step now that the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch are over and Democrats are planning to filibuster the nomination. 

Republicans, who number 52 in the Senate, need eight Democrats to join them in order to end the expected filibuster. 

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If they don't reach 60 votes, they can still get around it by changing the rules and requiring only a simply majority, or 51 votes, to end the debate.

So far, only one Democrat -- Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia -- has said he would not take part in the filibuster, thus vote with Republicans to advance his nomination. But it's unclear how Manchin would vote on final confirmation. 


Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont tweeted Monday that he is not supporting Gorsuch's confirmation, but at the same time he's "never inclined" to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee. "I need to see how Judge Gorsuch answers my written Qs, under oath, before deciding," he said on whether he'll filibuster. 

As of Monday morning, 10 Democrats have said or suggested they will filibuster. Another eight Democrats have said they'll opposed Gorsuch in the final confirmation vote, but it's unclear where they stand on the filibuster. 

Republicans are targeting a dozen Democrats who represent red states or states that Trump won last year, urging them to call for an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Three of those senators, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin have said they won't support Gorsuch -- and Casey and Baldwin have said or suggested they would also join the filibuster.

The rule change is also known as the nuclear option, a controversial move that Democrats took more than three years ago for all presidential nominees other than Supreme Court justices. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has strongly suggested he is willing to use the nuclear option -- even flatly declaring Gorsuch will be confirmed by the time the Senate departs for the April recess at the end of next week -- although he hasn't uttered those words publicly. 

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer argued Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" that if Gorsuch can't get to 60 votes on his own, then Republicans shouldn't change the rules, but "change the nominee." 

Democrats are still fuming over Republican action last year to block President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, keeping the seat vacant until a new president was sworn in. 

Here's what Democrats have said about Gorsuch. 

Democrats who won't take part in filibuster (Republicans needs eight of these to end the filibuster): 

1. Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) -- "That's not what the Founding Fathers decided for this body. This body's a very unique body, a very deliberate body, supposed to be the teapot cooling the tea off." -- Interview with Yahoo News on 3/23/2017

Democrats who plan to filibuster:

1. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (New York) -- "My vote will be 'no'. ... To my Republican friends who think that if Judge Gorsuch fails to reach 60 votes, we ought to change the rules, I say: If this nominee cannot earn 60 votes, a bar met by each of President Obama's nominees, and President Bush's last two nominees, the answer isn't to change the rules, it's to change the nominee." -- Statement on Senate floor on 3/23/2017

2. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont) -- "After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch's record, I have concluded that I will not vote to confirm him to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, and I will not support Republican efforts to change the rules to choke off debate and ram the nomination through the Senate." -- Statement on 3/23/2017

3. Sen. Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) -- "I don't believe that Judge Gorsuch, his judicial approach, would ensure fairness for workers and families in Pennsylvania and indeed across the country, and I will not support his nomination. ... If you seek to become a justice of the Supreme Court ... you ought to be able to rack up 60 votes ... I think that's the standard you should be able to meet." -- Press call with reporters on 3/23/2017

4. Sen. Ron Wyden (Oregon) -- "I will vote no on his nomination and I will vote to sustain a filibuster." -- Statement on 3/23/2017

5. Sen. Patty Murray (Washington) -- "After careful consideration, I will be voting against the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, and I will oppose a cloture motion ending debate." -- Statement 3/24/2017

6. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) -- "I believe Judge Gorsuch's nomination should be blocked." -- Op-ed in the Boston Globe on 3/20/2017

7. Sen. Jeff Merkley (Oregon) -- "This is a stolen seat being filled by an illegitimate and extreme nominee, and I will do everything in my power to stand up against this assault on the court." -- Statement on 1/31/2017

8. Sen. Tom Carper (Delaware) -- "I'm not prepared to consider the nomination of Judge Gorsuch. ... [M]y hope is that at some point later on this year we can consider both of them ... but to move forward on Judge Gorsuch, I would just kind of ignore what happened for the last year with Merrick Garland, I think would be wrong." Interview with Delaware Public Radio on 3/24/2017

9. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) -- "President Trump and his nominee need to earn 60 votes in the Senate," said Baldwin. "I will not be one of them." -- Journal Sentinel article on 2/2/2017

10. Sen. Bill Nelson (Florida) -- "I will vote no on the motion to invoke cloture and, if that succeeds, I will vote no on his confirmation." -- Statement on 3/27/2017

Democrats who plan to vote no on confirmation but it's unclear whether they will filibuster: 

1. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) -- "Judge Gorsuch needed to convince me he would not join the posse that has relentlessly stretched the law to benefit Republican partisans and corporations at the expense of everyone else. He did not. He will not get my vote." -- Statement on 3/24/2017 

2. Sen. Kamala Harris (California) -- "I cannot support his nomination." -- Op-ed in San Francisco Chronicle on 3/24/2017

3. Sen. Tom Udall (New Mexico) -- "Every recent Supreme Court nominee has received at least 60 votes either for cloture or confirmation. Judge Gorsuch will be subject to the same test, and therefore, I will vote no on his confirmation, including cloture." -- Statement on 3/24/2017

4. Sen. Jack Reed (Rhode Island) -- "I will not support Judge Gorsuch for the highest court in the land. After carefully examining his judicial record and listening to his testimony, I believe he is a poor choice for the United States Supreme Court." -- Statement on 3/24/2017

5. Sen. Ed Markey (Massachusetts) -- "I will not support the nomination of Judge Gorsuch." -- Statement on 1/31/2017

6. Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) -- "I cannot support any #SCOTUSnominee who does not recognize that corporations are not people. Read my full statement" -- Twitter on 1/31/2017

7. Sen. Cory Booker (New Jersey) -- "I will not vote for Judge Gorsuch. I will oppose his nomination." Twitter on 1/31/2017

8. Sen. Pat Leahy (Vermont) -- "As of now I do not believe I can support Judge Gorsuch. He did not answer basic Qs & was selected by extreme interest groups w an agenda...I am never inclined to filibuster a SCOTUS nom. But I need to see how Judge Gorsuch answers my written Qs, under oath, before deciding." -- Twitter on 3/27/2017