At least 41 Senate Democrats have said they will oppose President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, as of Monday afternoon, enough to filibuster his nomination and set up a showdown with Republicans over using the so-called "nuclear option."
Democrats have 41 senators ready to block Gorsuch's nomination with a filibuster, meaning the GOP may have to employ the nuclear option to get the federal judge confirmed for the nation's highest court.
BREAKING: 41 Senate Democrats oppose US Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch — enough for filibuster; sets up GOP to likely take "nuclear option."
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) April 3, 2017
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and other Democrats have pledged to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination and do everything possible to prevent him from being confirmed. Schumer has been trying to rally 40 Democrats to join him in voting no on a cloture vote to prevent Gorsuch from getting an up-or-down vote for confirmation.
The Senate's 52 Republicans need eight Democrats to join them in blocking a Democratic filibuster, or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) could use the nuclear option, which would lower the vote threshold to a simple, 51-vote majority rather than the current 60 votes needed.
Democratic Sen. Chris Coons from Delaware was the last senator to announce he will oppose Gorsuch's nomination, pushing the number over the 40-vote threshold.
"I have decided that I will not support Judge Gorsuch's nomination in the Judiciary Committee today," Coons said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing before the panel votes whether to move Gorsuch's nomination to the full Senate.
McConnell promised Sunday that Gorsuch will be confirmed one way or another this week, implying that he would use the nuclear option if Democrats have the necessary numbers for a filibuster.
"What I'm telling you is that Judge Gorsuch is going to be confirmed. The way in which that occurs is in the hands of the Democratic minority," McConnell said on "Fox News Sunday." He echoed that same message later on NBC's "Meet the Press."