SENATE

McConnell vows Gorsuch confirmation this week, says nuclear option 'in hands of Democrats'

Exclusive interview with Senate majority leader

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that Judge Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week to the Supreme Court but acknowledged Republicans still might not have enough support from Senate Democrats to avoid their attempts to slow or try to stop the nomination process with a filibuster.

“We’re going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed this week,” McConnell, R-Ky., told “Fox News Sunday.”

Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to fill the high court seat of conservative Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, will almost certainly have enough votes early this week in the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee but will struggle to get 60 votes for final confirmation by Friday. (Scalia died in February 2016.)

Republicans have 52 senators in the chamber and will need the support of eight Democrats to get Gorsuch confirmed in a straight floor vote.

Without Democratic support, McConnell could get Gorsuch confirmed with a parliamentary maneuver known as the “nuclear option," which would break the filibuster and get him confirmed on a simple 51-vote majority.

McConnell said Sunday that Gorsuch “deserves to be confirmed” and “will ultimately be confirmed.” But he would not commit to using the so-called nuclear option, arguing he’s still not sure how Democrats will vote.

“We’ll know through the course of the week,” he said. “It’s in the hands of Democrats.”

McConnell also argued, as he and fellow Republicans have repeatedly said in recent weeks, that Democrats in 2013 used parliamentary tactics to end debate and used the filibuster during the nomination process for lower court judges.