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Filibuster or not, Sen. Jeff Merkley's all-night talk-a-thon against Gorsuch nomination joins the record books

It wasn't exactly a filibuster as Sen. Jeff Merkley spoke for more than 15 hours overnight to protest President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, but that hardly mattered.

The Oregon Democrat launched what is likely to be a day -- and night -- of resistance speeches against Judge Neil M. Gorsuch before Thursday's pivotal vote.

Democrats plan to filibuster the nominee, arguing the affable Colorado judge is too conservative, and not a mainstream pick to replace Antonin Scalia, who died last year.   

But Republicans plan to end the blockade with a procedural vote to shut down debate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also expected to begin the process of changing the Senate's rules to allow confirmation of Gorusch by a simple majority vote -- the so-called nuclear option.

The Senate is in knots over what is about to happen, and some senators are quietly trying to find an alternative outcome.

Meanwhile, Democrats plan to fight all day, and possibly night, to hold the floor against Gorsuch, especially after Republicans refused last year to even consider President Obama's nominee for the seat, Merrick Garland.

Even when it's not technically a filibuster, senators from both parties have done this before. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) famously read "Green Eggs and Ham" as he tried to defund the Affordable Care Act in 2013; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) turned his multi-hour session against President George W. Bush's tax breaks into a book, "The Speech."

Merkley, who began his speech at 6:46 p.m. EDT Tuesday, finished at 10:13 a.m. Wednesday, putting his effort among the top 10 longest speeches in Senate history, his office said.

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