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Pence 'hopeful' GOP won't have to go 'nuclear' over SCOTUS pick

Pence 'hopeful' GOP won't have to go 'nuclear' over SCOTUS pick

Vice President Pence says he hopes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Trump looms over Ernst's tough reelection fight in Iowa Democratic senator votes against advancing Amy Coney Barrett nomination while wearing RBG mask MORE (R-Ky.) does not have to resort to eradicating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees should Democrats block Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“I’m hopeful that he doesn’t. The president and our entire team are committed to supporting Judge Gorsuch’s nomination,” Pence told PBS's “NewsHour” in an interview set to air Wednesday evening.

The move, known as the “nuclear option,” would make it so that Supreme Court nominees need only a 51-vote majority for confirmation as opposed to the current 60 votes.

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Republicans currently hold a 52-person majority in the Senate, meaning eight Democrats would need to support Gorsuch’s nomination to break a potential filibuster. Several Democrats came out against Gorsuch’s nomination on Tuesday after Trump’s announcement that the federal circuit court judge was his pick to fill the seat left vacant by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Trump on Wednesday said McConnell should “go nuclear” if necessary.

“If we end up with that gridlock, I would say, if you can, Mitch, go nuclear,” the president told reporters.

"Because that would would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was put up to that neglect," Trump said about his nominee. "So I would say, it's up to Mitch, but I would say go for it." 

Gorsuch is expected to face a difficult nomination process, as Democrats are still reeling after Republicans refused to give former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama gives Twitter shoutouts to early voters facing challenges: 'You're an inspiration to all of us' Obama highlights Biden's tweet from a year ago warning Trump wasn't ready for pandemic Why childcare must be a priority to restart the economy MORE’s nominee, Merrick Garland, a vote or hearing last year.

Pence said in the interview with PBS that the administration is “extraordinarily enthusiastic” about Gorsuch’s confirmation and that he hopes the Senate affords him the “same level of consideration” as Obama and former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage Trump expected to bring Hunter Biden's former business partner to debate Davis: On eve of tonight's debate — we've seen this moment in history before MORE’s first-term nominees.

“They’re going to see what the president saw. Someone who is a first-class intellect, a fourth-generation Coloradan, and someone who in a fair and impartial way is going to uphold the Constitution and apply the law as written,” Pence said.