U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine said Sunday that he will probably decide whether to support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Tuesday or Wednesday.

King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” that a colleague had submitted questions to Gorsuch on his behalf and he needed time to study the answers.

The full Senate is expected to take up the matter this week, after a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination scheduled for Monday.

At least 36 Senate Democrats oppose President Trump’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court and have vowed to try to block him with a filibuster. They would need five more votes to succeed.

But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to move for a change in Senate rules to lower the threshold for Supreme Court justices from 60 votes to a simple majority of the 100-member Senate if the Democrats mount a filibuster.

King said Sunday that Republicans’ stonewalling for 11 months last year on former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia amounted to “the granddaddy” of all filibusters.

“You can argue this in both directions,” he said in the interview from Brunswick.

King said the idea of a 60-vote requirement for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court doesn’t strike him as a break with Senate tradition.

“The 60-vote margin requires some level of bipartisanship,” which isn’t bad for the country, he said. “You have to have people and ideas that have some level of buy-in from both parties.”

King’s remarks followed an appearance on the show by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who said he is confident that Gorsuch will be confirmed.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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