Kaine: Dems will use 'nuclear option' if GOP blocks court nominee
© Greg Nash

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate panel subpoenas Roger Stone associate for Russia probe Webb: The new mob: Anti-American Dems Clinton to hold fundraiser for Menendez in NJ next month MORE's running mate is predicting Democrats will go "nuclear" if Republicans try to stonewall a potential Supreme Court nominee by Clinton. 

Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDem lawmaker trolls Trump over reception of UN speech Trump: Boasting line in UN speech was 'meant to get some laughter' Kaine mocks Trump over UN laughter, resurfaces old tweet calling Obama a 'laughing stock' MORE on Friday said he believes Senate Democrats will change the chamber's rules if they run into GOP obstruction in 2017. 

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"If these guys think guys think they are going to stonewall the filling of that vacancy, or other vacancies, then a Democratic Senate majority will say we're not going to let you thwart the law," he told The Huffington Post. 

The historic move would let Supreme Court nominees bypass a current 60-vote procedural requirement and be approved by a simple majority.

Pressed as to he is saying Democrats will carry out a threat from outgoing Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidKavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow Dems can’t ‘Bork’ Kavanaugh, and have only themselves to blame Dem senator: Confidential documents would 'strongly bolster' argument against Kavanaugh's nomination MORE (D-Nev.) to use the procedural "nuclear option," Kaine added, "I am predicting that if the Republicans continue to stonewall, then I think that will happen." 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBredesen says he won't back Schumer for Senate Dem leader Webb: The new mob: Anti-American Dems Ignored Latino vote will be key in future elections MORE (R-Texas), asked this week if Republicans should consider a Clinton nominee, appeared to suggest letting the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death go unfilled for years.  

The move earned the Texas Republican a wave of backlash from Democrats and broke with comments from some of his GOP colleagues — including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Kavanaugh accuser Ramirez's attorney says Republicans were no-shows on scheduled call Grassley taps Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Kavanaugh, Ford MORE (R-Iowa) — who argue a Clinton nominee would not be automatically blocked.

Reid earlier this month said he has paved the way for Democrats to change the rules. 

But any push to change the Senate rules would by led by Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBredesen says he won't back Schumer for Senate Dem leader Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV MORE (N.Y.), who is expected to replace Reid as the leader of Senate Democrats and could become majority leader if his party wins control of the chamber on Election Day.

Asked about the nuclear option earlier this month, Schumer demurred, telling CNBC's John Harwood, "I hope we won't get to that. And I'll leave it at that."  

In 2013, Senate Democrats changed the filibuster rules on most of Obama's nominees, allowing their approval by simple majority, but left the 60-vote hurdle intact for Supreme Court nominations. 

Republicans have refused to give Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing or a vote for months. They argue that the vacancy left by Scalia's death should be filled by the next president.  

A small but growing number of Republicans have opened the door to considering Garland in the post-election lame-duck session, though GOP leadership remains firmly opposed.

Kaine, however, said Friday that there's a "significant likelihood" that Garland will get confirmed this year.