The question now is whether there are 51 votes in the Senate Republican caucus to support the nuclear option. While most Republicans seem prepared to back the measure, a handful of consensus-oriented veterans may be recalcitrant to change the rules and further escalate the judicial confirmation wars.
The most likely candidates in this regard are GOP Sens. Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lindsay Graham. All three were members of the “Gang of 14,” a bipartisan group of senators that reached an accord on confirmed Bush-era nominees without invoking the nuclear option in 2005. Other Republicans with something of a moderate streak, like Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Jeff Flake, might also oppose such a dramatic change.
Collins is the only Republican senator to express misgivings about the nuclear option thus far.
“Senator Collins is not a proponent of changing the rules of the Senate,” a Collins representative told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “She hopes that common sense will prevail and that we will have a normal process for considering Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.”
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