Two Dems announce they'll vote for Gorsuch

Two Dems announce they'll vote for Gorsuch

Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Gary Cohn criticizes the shutdown: 'Completely wrong' EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks 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) ManchinSenate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Centrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Bipartisan group of senators will urge Trump to reopen government for 3 weeks 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 McCaskillThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (Mo.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Senate approves funding bill, preventing partial government shutdown MORE (Ind.) are facing pressure to back Trump’s nominee as well.

In addition, Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president GOP insiders knock their depictions in new Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice’ Barr: It would be a crime for president to pardon someone in exchange for their silence MORE (D-Vt.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries GOP senators would support postponing State of the Union MORE (D-Md.) haven't closed the door voting to end a filibuster. 

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetCracks beginning to show in GOP shutdown resolve WHIP LIST: Who’s in and out in the 2020 race Would-be 2020 Dem candidates head for the exits 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 McConnellSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback 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.