Gorsuch sherpa: Dems giving GOP ‘no choice’ on nuclear option

Former Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteNew Hampshire governor signs controversial voting bill Former Arizona senator to shepherd Supreme Court nominee through confirmation process Shut the back door to America's opioid epidemic MORE (R-N.H.) says Democrats are set to force Republicans into exercising the “nuclear option” on Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation vote.

“Unfortunately, the Democrats are just obstructing [Gorsuch’s] ability to have this up-or-down vote,” Ayotte, who was tasked by the Trump administration with guiding Gorsuch's confirmation process, said Monday on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto Coast to Coast.”

“The Republicans have made clear that he’s going to be confirmed one way or the other,” she added.

The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier Monday advanced Gorsuch’s nomination 11-9 along party lines, setting up a bitter floor fight that will likely result in Republicans triggering the nuclear option.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Overnight Defense: Washington reeling from Trump, Putin press conference Feehery: The long game MORE (R-Ky.) is expected to schedule a Thursday vote to end a Democratic filibuster of Gorsuch, which would require 60 votes.

Senate Democrats clinched enough support Monday for blocking Gorsuch’s confirmation.

GOP senators are now seemingly resigned to lowering the vote threshold for confirming Supreme Court nominees and circumventing the filibuster against Gorsuch.

“They’re being left with no choice but to change the rules. I know that’s not what they had hoped had happened, but I don’t see at this point what choice they’re left,” Ayotte said.

Democrats remain furious after Senate Republicans refused to hold a vote on Merrick Garland, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhy did it take so long for Trump to drain the swamp of Pruitt? President Trump is tougher on Russia in 18 months than Obama in eight years Obama in Kenya for launch of sister’s sports center MORE’s Supreme Court nominee, last year.

The Supreme Court has had eight justices since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.