Sen. Michael Bennet broke ranks with fellow Democrats in the Senate by announcing his opposition to a filibuster of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation vote.
Bennet still has not shared how he plans to vote when the federal judge from Colorado is considered for the US Supreme Court on the senate floor.
“I will oppose efforts to filibuster the nomination, and strongly encourage my colleagues not to use the nuclear option,” Bennet wrote in a press release.
Liberal Democrats have bristled at Bennet’s praise for President Donald Trump’s appointee and the fact that the Senator is, in his words, “keeping an open mind” on Gorsuch’s confirmation vote.
With the memory of President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland fresh in the minds of Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed a filibuster of the Gorsuch vote.
Garland was appointed with the better part of a year remaining in the Obama presidency, but Republicans did not hold any hearings for him.
According to a whip count from NBC News, Bennet is one of only four senate Democrats to take a position against a filibuster.
40 others plan to join the filibuster effort and four remain undecided.
If all four undecided senators oppose the filibuster, Republicans will not need to use the so-called “nuclear option,” a term for reinterpreting Senate rules to only require a simple majority to vote on the judge’s confirmation.
Without the nuclear option, 60 votes are needed to end debate and hold the confirmation vote.
Democrats previously used the nuclear option to help President Obama confirm judges to lower courts, but this method of ending debate has not been used before for the supreme court.