Republicans Change to ‘Nuclear Option’
Republicans changed the US Senate rules in order to push through the confirmation of Colorado appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch. The Democrats used a tactic known as a filibuster. It was used for the first time, in half a century, to block the nominee. Along come the Republicans, determined to have Gorsuch approved tomorrow, and they invoked the “nuclear option.” Republican John McCain said, “Bad day for democracy.”
Republicans Were Five Votes Short
The Republicans fail five votes short of the 60 needed today to confirm Gorsuch. Their retaliation came about by changing the US Senate rules so that they did not need 60 votes. When the vote was taken it followed ideological lines 52-48 to overturn the chamber’s rules. The “nuclear option” was the last resort in order to enable Gorsuch to be approved. Now, with the change, only a simple majority in the Senate is required. Since the Republicans hold 52 seats this move gives them the necessary 51 votes needed to move Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The “nuclear option” affects future Supreme Court nominations. Some lawmakers believe this set a dangerous precedent. Senator Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, tweeted: “The dark deed is done. McConnell has just put a knife into the heart of our We the People republic.”