Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) said Sunday that he will support the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, making him the third Democratic senator to back President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee.
Donnelly said in a statement that Judge Gorsuch “is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers.”
Donnelly joins two other Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, as the chamber looks to vote on President Trump’s choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia later this week.
Assuming the GOP will unanimously support Gorsuch, he would need five more votes from the Democrats to reach the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster.
If the votes fall short of 60, Republicans have said that they may change the Senate rules so that ending debate on Gorsuch would only require a simple 51-vote majority. Senate Republicans currently hold a 52-person majority in the upper chamber.
The Daily Caller reports:
Some Republicans have suggested that they may change Senate rules to forego a filibuster by forcing an up-and-down vote. That move, which is referred to as the “nuclear option,” would touch off intense acrimony in Washington.
Though Gorsuch has endorsements from both sides of the political spectrum, Democrats are blocking him partially as a political tactic to stymie Trump, but also as payback for the GOP’s refusal to hold a vote last year on the confirmation of Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace the late conservative justice, Antonin Scalia.