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Democrats are willing to keep that ninth Supreme Court seat open 'as long as we have to'

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Democrats are willing to keep that ninth Supreme Court seat open 'as long as we have to'

WATCH | President Donald Trump has promised to nominate a Supreme Court justice to fill the ninth seat that has been vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia died last February. But Senate Democrats say they are not going to go down without a fight. 

"As long as we have to"

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday that he is prepared to leave the seat vacant.

"If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we absolutely will keep the seat open," Schumer said on CNN's "State of the Union."  

He said he was hopeful that Trump would nominate someone who is mainstream, but if not, he said, Democrats would fight "tooth and nail, as long as we have to." 

A Democratic filibuster 

Schumer did not elaborate on how Democrats will combat a nomination, but the most likely scenario is a filibuster. 

Unlike with a cabinet nomination, Democrats can filibuster to stall a confirmation for a Supreme Court justice. 

Republican Senators would need to convince at least eight Democrats or Independents to side with them and initiate a cloture vote, which is basically a vote to end debate and move the nomination to a full vote.

A tied court 

Democrats could potentially block a new justice from taking up a seat in the court for the next four years, and that means the Supreme Court could end up tied on some major cases. 

Just this year, the court is set to hear cases dealing with issues like transgender policies in schools, police brutality, religious liberties, and patent and trademark laws. 

Trump's choices 

President Trump has said he intends to appoint a strict conservative to the bench and promised it would be someone with the same judicial philosophies as Justice Scalia. 

Trump has released a list of potential candidates, including several anti-abortion judges. 

GOP Senators blocked former President Obama's nomination, Merrick Garland, from ever making it to the floor for a vote. 

Democrats are willing to keep that ninth Supreme Court seat open 'as long as we have to'

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