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Nelson to meet with SCOTUS nominee Gorsuch

Supreme Court Gorsuch Education
via @learyreports

WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson will meet Tuesday afternoon with President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

It is the first meeting between Nelson and Neil Gorsuch, a conservative judge from Colorado who will need the support of eight Democrats to break a filibuster, unless Republicans decide to change the rules to install Gorsuch with a simple majority.

Nelson is facing pressure from the left and right over Gorsuch -- pressure heightened because Trump won Florida and Nelson is up for re-election next year.

"Whatever the pressure is," Nelson recently told the Tampa Bay Times, "I'm going to make up my own mind as to what I think is in the best interest of our country and Florida."

Nelson in 2006 opposed a filibuster of Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, calling for an up-or-down vote (he was ultimately against Alito) but today stands with Democrats in insisting on a 60-vote threshold.

"You bet I do. The filibuster has always forced the political extremes to come of the middle to build consensus," Nelson said, adding it was a "mistake" for former Democratic leader Harry Reid to lower the threshold on other nominees that were stymied by Republicans.

GOP interest groups say Nelson is having it both ways and that he should support an up-or-down vote. Already post cards have hit Florida mailboxes urging calls for Nelson to back the nominee.

Nelson will likely ask Gorsuch for his feelings on voting rights and the outsized role money plays in politics, especially since the 2010 Citizens United case was decided by the Supreme Court.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times