Two Dems announce they'll vote for Gorsuch

Two Dems announce they'll vote for Gorsuch

Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (N.D.) on Thursday became the second Senate Democrat publicly planning to vote for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, joining Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinHillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic MORE (D-W.Va.). 

"After doing my due diligence by meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve decided to vote in favor of his confirmation," Heitkamp said in a statement. 

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She added that Gorsuch is "balanced, meticulous, and [a] well-respected jurist who understands the rule of law." 

Heitkamp’s announcement came moments after Manchin became the first Senate Democrat publicly backing Gorsuch.

"I will vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court," Manchin tweeted.

Thirty-three Senate Democrats have come out against Gorsuch's nomination, according to The Hill's Whip List, with Republicans signaling that they are willing to change Senate rules to confirm him with a simple majority if eight Democrats or Independents don't back him.

Both Manchin and Heitkamp are among the 10 Democrats up for reelection in 2018 in states Trump won easily, and the GOP is expected to target both of their seats. 

To meet a 60-vote procedural hurdle and stop a Democratic filibuster, Gorsuch will need backing from six more lawmakers. Other red-state Democrats like Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocratic-linked group runs ads in Kansas GOP Senate primary Trump mocked for low attendance at rally Missouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties MORE (Mo.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (Ind.) are facing pressure to back Trump’s nominee as well.

In addition, Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism MORE (D-Vt.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  Congress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans MORE (D-Md.) haven't closed the door voting to end a filibuster. 

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetExpanding our health force can save lives and create jobs simultaneously How Congress is preventing a Medicare bankruptcy during COVID-19 Tom Cotton rips NY Times for Chinese scientist op-ed criticizing US coronavirus response MORE (D-Colo.) — who is under pressure because he represents Gorsuch's home state — also hasn't announced his decision. 

Gorsuch’s nomination will get a vote Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks MORE (R-Ky.) predicted that he will get a full Senate vote on April 7. 

Democrats remain bitter over Republicans’ treatment of Merrick Garland, whom President Obama nominated to the Supreme Court following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

McConnell announced within hours of the Scalia's death in February 2016 that he wound not allow Obama to fill the seat, insisting the winner of the presidential election would do so. Republicans did not give Garland hearings or a vote. 

Heitkamp said Thursday that her support for Gorsuch "does not diminish how disturbed" she is by those GOP tactics. 

"But I was taught that two wrongs don’t make a right. There isn’t a perfect judge," she said. "Regardless of which party is in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court should be above politics.”

Updated at 5:23 p.m.