Judge Neil Gorsuch
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Neil M. Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to be an associate justice of the US Supreme Court during a hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on March 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Neil M. Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to be an associate justice of the US Supreme Court during a hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on March 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21:  Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left on the court by the February 2016 death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left on the court by the February 2016 death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Neil Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court during a hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on March 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

CNN's whip list has 36 Democrats saying or suggesting they will filibuster Gorsuch's nomination

Donnelly said the Senate 'should keep the current 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees'

CNN —  

Sen. Joe Donnelly announced Sunday that he will support the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

“After meeting with Judge Gorsuch, conducting a thorough review of his record, and closely following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that he is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers,” the Indiana Democrat said in a statement.

Donnelly is the third Senate Democrat to support Gorsuch, joining Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

CNN’s whip list has 36 Democrats saying or suggesting they will filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination. Another two Democrats say they’ll oppose Gorsuch in the final confirmation vote, but it’s unclear where they will stand on a potential filibuster.

In his statement, Donnelly added the Senate “should keep the current 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees.”

Earlier Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would be able to unite enough Democrats to deny Gorsuch the 60 votes the Republican leadership will need to overcome a filibuster.

“It’s highly, highly unlikely that he’ll get 60,” Schumer said.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged on the same show that Gorsuch would soon be seated on the high court.

“Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week,” McConnell said. “How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture on a partisan basis to kill a Supreme Court nominee.”

If Schumer is able to halt the vote, McConnell could move to change the rules of the Senate by invoking what is referred to as the “nuclear option,” which would allow the leadership to overcome a filibuster of Supreme Court nominations with a simple majority, or at least 51 votes. Republicans hold a slim, 52-48 majority in the chamber.

McConnell announced last week that, regardless of Schumer’s filibuster threat, the Senate would vote on Gorsuch this Friday before lawmakers leave Washington for a two-week recess.