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Story highlights

If Neil Gorsuch falls short with Democrats, the GOP could decide to invoke the "nuclear option"

Some Republicans, however, fear such a maneuver could set a dangerous precedent

(CNN) —  

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said Wednesday he does not believe Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch has the Democratic support necessary for confirmation in the Senate.

Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the chamber. Sixty votes are needed to overcome a potential filibuster by Democrats.

“At this point, I don’t believe there are eight Democrats supporting Judge Gorsuch, but Chuck Schumer told us all, ‘Wait until the hearings are over, let’s do this professionally, let’s do it responsibly,’” said Durbin, referring to the Senate minority leader. “I think that’s the right approach.”

If Gorsuch falls short with Democrats, Republicans could decide to invoke the “nuclear option” requiring a simple majority. Some Republicans, however, fear such a maneuver could set a dangerous precedent for when they do not control the upper chamber.

RELATED: Neil Gorsuch faces third day before Congress

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, didn’t address such concerns when he told Fox News Wednesday morning Gorsuch “will be on the court, no matter what it takes.”

Speaking with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, Durbin also predicted Democrats’ further grilling of Gorsuch on Wednesday will yield key details that would determine the level of support he receives from Democrats.

“I can tell you this, today is another day of questioning, and I think there will be some important issues raised, but at the end of the day, we each have to make a decision as to whether this man should have a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,” he said. “It’s not an easy call because it’s the deciding vote in a 4-4 court.”

As for how he plans to vote, Durbin said, “I’ll withhold my final judgment until the hearings are over.”

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