FILE - In this March 21, 2017 file photo, Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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Democrats have secured the votes to block President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee under current rules, putting the Senate on a partisan collision course over confirming Neil Gorsuch to a lifetime appointment that could reverberate for decades.Debate over the 49-year-old appellate judge gets under way in the full Senate Tuesday, with Republicans and Democrats bitterly divided over the next steps.The tactic if invoked would lower the confirmation threshold to a filibuster-proof simple majority of 51 votes in the 100-member Senate rather than the 60 votes currently needed to stop delaying tactics by opponents.Though predicting a justice's votes can be difficult, confirmation of the 49-year-old Gorsuch is expected to restore the conservative majority that existed while Scalia was alive and that majority could be expanded in coming decades if Republicans remain in control of the process.Gorsuch now counts 55 supporters in the Senate: the 52 Republicans, along with three moderate Democrats from states Trump won last November -- Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
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