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Gorsuch vote in Senate expected to test red-state Democrats

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         Gorsuch vote in Senate expected to test red-state Democrats

WASHINGTON — A sharply divided Senate this week will vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, with Democrats in red-leaning states put in the position of choosing between a Republican-nominated judge and their own party’s wish to block President Donald Trump at every turn.

Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote largely along party lines to send Gorsuch’s nomination to the Senate floor. That will intensify the scrambling for votes on both sides ahead of the full Senate votes later in the week.

Gorsuch Nomination: More Democrats on Board?(5:03)

Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court comes to a Senate vote next week as two Democratic senators have stepped forward as the first to throw support behind the nominee. WSJ's Byron Tau and Tanya Rivero discuss whether more Democrats are likely to follow suit. Photo: AP

Gorsuch needs 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate, where Republicans hold 52 seats. If Republicans can’t secure the necessary eight Democratic votes, they have threatened to change Senate rules so they can confirm him — and future high-court justices — with a simple majority. One party forcing a change to the chamber’s rules is referred to as the “nuclear option.”

About three-dozen Democrats, outraged that Republicans refused even to hold a hearing last year for former President Barack Obama’s high-court nominee, have indicated they would vote to block Gorsuch. Three Senate Democrats have said they would vote for Gorsuch. That puts the focus on the remaining Democrats, some up for re-election next year and from states that Trump won, who haven’t yet said which way they would vote.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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