April 3, 2017 / 3:41 PM / 4 months ago

Warner's opposition to Trump court nominee gives Democrats 41 'no' votes

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Senate Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) listens during a committee hearing titled "Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 30, 2017.Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Senator Mark Warner on Monday announced opposition to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, meaning Democrats potentially have the votes needed to block a U.S. Senate confirmation vote to give Neil Gorsuch the lifetime job.

Warner's announcement put the number of Democrats opposing Gorsuch at 41, the tally needed to use a procedural hurdle called a filibuster that requires 60 votes to allow a confirmation vote in the 100-seat Senate. It remained unclear, however, if all 41 senators who have voiced opposition would back a filibuster.

Republicans control the Senate 52-48. If Democrats amass the 41 votes to block a confirmation vote that Senate Republicans have planned for Friday, the Republicans would then be expected to try to change the chamber's long-standing rules and allow confirmation by a simple majority, a move backed by Trump that is sometimes called the "nuclear option."

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Susan Heavey; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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