Battle lines may soon be drawn in Washington D.C., as the Senate appears to be on a collision course over Neil Gorsuch's nomination to serve as the next Supreme Court justice.
A slew of sources on both the Republican and Democratic sides suggest that the parties will dig in over President Trump's nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the court.
The key battle? Under current Senate rules, Gorsuch cannot be confirmed unless 60 senators agree to advance debate. With Republicans in control of only 52 seats in the Senate, Democrats can filibuster the nominee.
Where SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch stands on key issues
Where SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch stands on key issues
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch looks on as Senate Judiciary Committee. President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to fill the seat that had left vacant with the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.
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Gorsuch has never directly ruled on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S., but he was pressed on the landmark ruling during his Senate confirmation hearing.
When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Gorsuch what he would have done if President Trump asked him to overturn Roe v. Wade, the judge responded, "I would have walked out the door. It's not what judges do. I don't do it at that end of Pennsylvania Avenue and they shouldn't do it at this end either, respectfully."
Some refer to passages from a book Gorsuch wrote on assisted suicide. In the book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Gorsuch wrote, "The idea that all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong."
(Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Gorsuch has never directly ruled on the Second Amendment. However, during his confirmation hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) questioned Gorsuch on District of Columbia v. Heller -- a landmark ruling that overturned a ban on handguns and certain requirements when storing guns in Washington D.C.
Gorsuch offered limited responses to Feinstein's questioning, but did conclude that Heller was the "law of the land."
(REUTERS/John Sommers II/File Photo)
Gorsuch is widely regarded as a strong proponent of religious liberty.
In a landmark ruling, Gorsuch sided with an employer in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case in 2013, making it legal for a non-profit organization to deny employees access to contraceptives if it goes against their religious beliefs. The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, where it was also ruled in the favor of Hobby Lobby.
In another case, Gorsuch ruled in favor of a Wyoming inmate. The ruling allowed the inmate to use a prison yard sweat lodge, that he had previously been denied access to, for Native American religious worship.
Gorsuch has not hinted to how he feels about President Trump's proposed travel ban, and many experts are split on how the SCOTUS nominee would vote on the executive order that bans immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries. The ban is currently suspended following rulings by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland.
Gorsuch has sided with immigrants in past cases, and as Cornell University constitutional law professor Michael Dorf noted to the Denver Post -- "Gorsuch’s sympathy for people in religious cases, a general skepticism of executive power and a history of ruling for immigrants give some reason to think he could be sympathetic to plaintiffs challenging a ban on people from certain countries."
In the 2015 case Energy and Environment Legal Institute vs. Epel, Gorsuch sided with a Colorado law that requires 20 percentage of electricity sold in the state to be from renewable sources. The case was filed by an out-of-state coal company, claiming the law was a threat to interstate commerce.
When pressed about gay rights and strict interpretations of the law by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.) during his confirmation hearing, Gorsuch responded that "no one is looking to return us to horse and buggy days."
"We’re trying to interpret the law faithfully, taking principles that are enduring and a Constitution that was meant to last ages and apply it and interpret it to today’s problems."
Gorsuch also told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "A good judge starts with precedent and doesn’t reinvent the wheel. So to the extent, there are decisions on these topics — and there are — a good judge respects precedent."
(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
While Gorsuch does hail from Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it is still unclear where he stands on the issue.
In 2015, Gorsuch ruled against a dispensary, forcing the company to pay taxes on items they wrote off as business expenses in an effort to avoid incriminating themselves due to a federal law banning marijuana.
(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made it clear that he is ready to oppose Gorsuch, which suggests such a filibuster could be likely. The question that remains is what fellow Democrats will do.
Many progressive lawmakers have said Gorsuch does not deserve a simple confirmation because Republicans refused to consider Obama nominee Merrick Garland for the role.
Scalia's seat has been open since he passed away in early 2016. While former President Barack Obama quickly nominated Garland to replace Scalia, Republican leadership in the Senate refused to move forward on his nomination, arguing that with the next election coming soon, the next president should chose the next nominee.
The Republicans could also bypass the Democrats with the so-called nuclear option which would enable his confirmation through a simple majority vote.