TVC E. A U.S. Senate panel on Monday is expected to advance President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, to the full Senate vote later in the week. This is seen as a potential political showdown as Democrats seek to block his confirmation.

Republicans hold an 11-9 majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering Gorsuch’s nomination, and control the full Senate by 52-48. But Democrats are planning to use a procedural hurdle called a filibuster that requires 60 votes to allow a confirmation vote. So far, 37 Democrats have backed such a move.

To date, only three Democrats have said they support Gorsuch.  If confirmed to fill a vacancy created by the February 2016 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, Gorsuch, 49, an appeals court judge, would restore the nine-seat high court’s conservative majority, fulfilling one of Trump’s top campaign promises.

 

According to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, Gorsuch will be confirmed by Friday despite any move by the Democrats.But Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer counters  that it was “highly, highly unlikely” that Republicans would get 60 votes. Republicans need to win over eight Democrats in total to block a filibuster. If they cannot do so, McConnell can still force a vote by changing long-standing Senate rules to allow for a simple majority vote, a move that Trump has urged. The precedent-breaking move would make it easier for Supreme Court justices to be confirmed in future.