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will they or won't they

Will Manchin and Sinema block Biden's Supreme Court nominee?

The incoming Supreme Court vacancy has left us with a lot of questions, chief among them — who will President Biden tap to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer? And secondly, how might the confirmation hearings unfold? Will Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a duo who have repeatedly put the kibosh on Biden's agenda, throw a wrench in the nomination plan? 

It's a perilous situation — in the event Biden's nominee secures zero Republican votes, he'll need every Democratic senator on board to push the new justice through. 

Luckily for him, it currently seems unlikely that Manchin or Sinema would break with Biden when the time comes, says CNN's Manu Raju, citing past SCOTUS confirmation records. Also unlikely are the chances the hearings become a partisan brawl, given the court's currently-impenetrable 6-3 conservative majority and the timing of the nomination. Plus, considering the relatively low stakes (emphasis on the "relatively") of the appointment, some Republicans might even vote with the Democrats, in which case Biden may not even need Manchin and Sinema.

Furthermore, both Manchin and Sinema have confirmed other judicial nominees of Biden's before this, meaning there's precedent to cling to.

Whatever the two lawmakers decide, Democrats "likely won't get a clear answer anytime soon," notes Vox, at least in the case of Manchin, whose "typical practice is to wait until very late to announce his voting intention on controversial bills or nominees."