The Latest: Schumer warns against rule change for Gorsuch

WASHINGTON (AP) " The Latest on Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Previewing a contentious fight next week, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says only Republicans will be to blame if they change Senate rules to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Democrats appear likely to have enough votes to block Gorsuch's nomination. If that happens, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear he will change Senate rules, meaning they could proceed to a final confirmation vote with a simple majority.

The rule change could have lasting implications for the Senate and the Supreme Court. In an interview with The Associated Press, Schumer says McConnell "can prove he cares about the Senate by not changing the rules."

Schumer says McConnell is acting like he has no choice, but "that is bunk." Schumer says Trump could select a new nominee.

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5:50 p.m.

A conservative group is launching a new $1 million television and digital ad buy to persuade Democrats to support President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, as his confirmation vote nears.

The Judicial Crisis Network announced the buy Thursday. Separate ads will air nationally and in four states represented by Democratic senators who have yet to announce how they will vote " Missouri, Montana, Colorado and Indiana.

Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Donnelly of Indiana are all up for re-election next year in states Trump won. The group is also targeting Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, since Gorsuch is a Coloradan.

"Senator Donnelly likes us to believe he does what's right," the Indiana ad says. "Now he can prove it."

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5 p.m.

Two Senate Democrats facing tough re-elections next year say they will vote for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota announced in statements Thursday that they would vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Manchin says he holds "no illusions that I will agree with every decision Judge Gorsuch may issue in the future, but I have not found any reasons why this jurist should not be a Supreme Court Justice."

Heitkamp says she expects Gorsuch to follow through on his promise of an independent judiciary that "acts as a proper check and balance on the other two branches of government."

Republicans need eight Democrats to vote with them to break the 60-vote threshold to move forward on the nomination next week.

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4:30 p.m.

A Democratic senator facing a tough re-election is warning her party there is a political risk in voting to block President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who says she is torn over how to vote, highlighted the dilemma for Democratic senators running next year in states that Trump won.

Should they vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch and anger their liberal base? Or vote to block Gorsuch and prompt Republicans to permanently change Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster?

"It is obviously a really difficult situation, that both alternatives, I think, have a lot of danger," McCaskill told reporters on Thursday.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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