Trump backs curbing filibuster if Dems block Supreme Court pick

President Trump is urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Hillicon Valley: Trump's Russia moves demoralize his team | Congress drops effort to block ZTE deal | Rosenstein warns of foreign influence threat | AT&T's latest 5G plans On The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal MORE (R-Ky.) to abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if Democrats block his pick.

Trump told Fox News that he would back getting rid of the 60-vote threshold for high court nominees if he can't win over the support of at least eight Democrats for his nominee, who is expected to be announced next week.  
 
"We have obstructionists," Trump said, pointing to Democrats' treatment of his Cabinet nominees and their push to delay a committee vote on Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue The FIRST STEP Act sets up a dangerous future The Sessions DOJ is working to end the great asylum hustle MORE's (R-Ala.) attorney general nomination. 
 
"That's not fair to a man," he added. "Other people are delayed, look at [Mike] Pompeo for CIA. That is a great choice. Everybody agrees." 
 
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Senate GOP leadership hasn't publicly backed using the "nuclear option" to get Trump's Supreme Court pick through the upper chamber. The historic move would allow them to get the pick cleared with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes now needed if the nominee is filibustered. 
 
Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE (S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, demurred this week when pressed if he supported nixing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. 
 
"I'm in favor of confirming the nominee," he told reporters. 
 
Pressed that "that sounds like a yes," Thune urged Democrats not to filibuster a Supreme Court pick. 

"If they do, then I guess we'll see what steps need to be taken at the time," he added. "But I think the one thing that we're committed to is getting a Supreme Court justice confirmed, and that's something on which I think there is no disagreement." 
 
Trump is expected to announce his nominee next week and told Fox News's "Hannity" that he has the "decision pretty much in my mind."

"That's subject to change at the last moment, but I think this will be a great choice,” he added.

Republican senators signaled after the election that they were wary of rolling back the filibuster, warning the move could come back to bite them when they return to the minority. 
 
Democrats, under the leadership of then-Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Don’t worry (too much) about Kavanaugh changing the Supreme Court Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (D-Nev.), got rid of the 60-vote threshold in 2013 for lower court and Cabinet nominees. 
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue Pollster: Kavanaugh will get Dem votes Democrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans MORE (D-N.Y.) has opened the door to Democrats blocking Trump's pick, threatening to leave the seat open if the president doesn't pick a "mainstream" nominee. 
 
"We're not going to do what the Republicans did, but if the candidate's out of the mainstream, I can tell you, I will fight and my caucus will fight tooth and nail against them," he told reporters this week. 
 
The Supreme Court seat has been vacant since February 2015, when Justice Antonin Scalia died. Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland, Obama's nominee to fill the seat, a hearing or a vote. 
 
McConnell however argued there is a difference between Democrats potentially opposing Trump's nominee and the GOP strategy against Garland. 

"Under Obama, Sotomayor and Kagan; no filibusters. That's apples and apples. First term, new president, Supreme Court vacancy," he said. "What we hope would be that our Democratic friends will treat President Trump's nominees in the same way that we treated Clinton and Obama."