(Reuters) - Many U.S. Senate Democrats are seeking to block a confirmation vote on Neil Gorsuch, the federal appellate judge nominated by President Donald Trump to become a Supreme Court justice, but it is unclear whether they will get the necessary votes.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on sending the nomination to the Senate floor. Republican Senate leaders hope to confirm Gorsuch on April 7.
As of Friday morning, 37 of the 46 Democrats and the two independents who align with them in the 100-seat Senate have publicly announced opposition to Gorsuch. Of those, 35 have said they would back an effort to block a confirmation vote via a procedural hurdle called a filibuster. Democrats need 41 votes to sustain a filibuster.
Two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, have announced support for Gorsuch.
Republicans control the Senate 52-48, meaning they need to win over eight votes to block a filibuster. The confirmation vote itself would require a simple majority of 51 votes.
Eight Democrats and one independent, Angus King of Maine, have yet to announce whether they would vote against Gorsuch or support a filibuster. Here is a look at these senators:
Michael Bennet of Colorado. Gorsuch is a fellow Coloradoan. Bennet introduced Gorsuch last week at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. In the introduction, Bennet criticized Republicans’ refusal last year to consider former President Barack Obama’s nominee to the same Supreme Court seat Gorsuch would occupy if confirmed. But Bennet said that “two wrongs never make a right.”
Chris Coons of Delaware. He has indicated he may support a deal to avoid a filibuster.
Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Up for re-election in 2018 in a state Trump won in 2016. Position unclear.
Dianne Feinstein of California. The senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversaw Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing.
Angus King of Maine. The senator is an independent who normally votes with Democrats. Position unclear.
Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Up for re-election in 2018 in a state Trump won in 2016. Position unclear.
Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Position unclear.
Jon Tester of Montana. Up for re-election in 2018 in a state Trump won in 2016. Position unclear.
Mark Warner of Virginia. Position unclear.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley in Washington and Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Will Dunham and Alistair Bell
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