Washington, Apr 3 (AFP) A US Senate panel advanced President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick today, setting up days of contentious debate, but opposition Democrats forced a historic showdown by securing enough votes to block the nomination.
The Senate Judiciary Committee successfully reported the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge, on an 11-9 vote along strict party lines.
The nomination now heads to the Senate floor for a crucial test vote this week: a procedural step that requires 60 votes to end debate in the 100-member chamber.
But Democrats are likely to prevent Gorsuch from passing that threshold, as 41 senators are now expected to join the so-called filibuster against advancing Gorsuch’s nomination.
“I cannot and will not support advancing this nomination,” Senator Patrick Leahy told the committee.
Republicans hold 52 seats, so they need eight Democrats to back Gorsuch, named by Trump to fill the seat of conservative justice Antonin Scalia who died in February 2016.
To date, just four Democrats — moderates from states won by Trump in last year’s election — have announced their support.
Should Democrats block Gorsuch, it will be the first time in the nation’s history that a filibuster has succeeded against a nominee to the Supreme Court, whose justices are appointed for life terms. (AFP)
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.