Just one day after President Donald Trump announced his Supreme Court pick, he's already plotting how Senate Republicans could get around a Democratic filibuster.
"If we end up with that gridlock I would say if you can … go nuclear," Trump told reporters Wednesday morning as he sat with groups supporting his Supreme Court nominee, federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, CNN reported.
To get on the bench, Gorsuch only needs to secure a simple majority of votes in the 100-seat Senate, but here's where things get complicated: a single Democrat could filibuster to delay the vote. To stop the filibuster and move to the vote, senators need 60 votes — there are only 52 Republicans in the Senate, this is called a "cloture."
Senate Democrats, still upset about the Republican-run Senate's unwillingness to approve former President Barack's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland, are likely to fight Gorsuch's approval.
While several senators said they were willing to move forward with a hearing, that doesn't mean they're ready for approval, the Washington Post reported.
By "going nuclear," the Senate could change the rules of cloture and strip Democrats of their power to filibuster so they would only need the 51 votes to get Gorsuch approved.
Although Senate Democrats went nuclear in 2013 to get around GOP filibusters for Obama's cabinet secretary and federal court judge appointees, the rule change did not apply to the Supreme Court.
Republicans and Democrats have long resisted the "nuclear option" change in the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees because it would also apply in the future when the opposing party might have power.
Confirmation hearings for Gorsuch will be held in six weeks, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley told CNN on Wednesday.