The alleged “nuclear” option of changing the filibuster rules on Supreme Court nominees has been invoked. Like it or not Neil Gorsuch will soon be on the Supreme Court.
As threatened, the GOP Triggers Nuclear Option, Gutting Filibuster in Gorsuch Fight.
Senate Republicans on Thursday voted to strip Democrats of the power to filibuster President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, invoking the so-called nuclear option.
Senators voted 52-48 along party lines to change the Senate’s precedent, lowering the threshold for advancing Neil Gorsuch from 60 votes to a simple majority.
The move sets up a final confirmation vote on Gorsuch for Friday afternoon, after another cloture vote later Thursday followed by thirty hours of more debate.
The American Bar Association rated Gorsuch as unanimously well-qualified, but Democrats criticized him for not revealing his personal judicial philosophy during confirmation as well as for several opinions they said showed he tended to favor powerful interests over “the little guy.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) argued that Republicans didn’t have to change the rules to put Gorsuch on the court, and that the more sensible option would have been to ask Trump to pick a new nominee.
He said replacing Gorsuch would be fair after Republicans refused to give President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing or a vote last year.
What Goes Around Comes Around
In 2013, frustrated by repeated GOP filibusters of President Obama’s nominees, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) first employed the nuclear option to change the rules.
The 2013 nuclear option exempted judicial nominees below the level of Supreme Court from filibusters.
Republicans extended it.
Also, recall that Obamacare passed only because it was done in a reconciliation bill not subject to filibuster. If Obamacare is ever unwound, it will also be via budget reconciliation.
Thus, there’s plenty of hypocrisy in play.
Good Thing Or Not?
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) grumbled to reporters earlier in the week that whoever thought employing the nuclear option would make the Senate a better place is “a stupid idiot.”
I seldom agree with McCain on anything and welcome the day he retires or is voted out.
I look at situations like this pragmatically.
- The American Bar Association rated Gorsuch as unanimously well-qualified.
- He is absolutely the best nominee from Trump that the Democrats could possibly have expected.
I would prefer a justice who would uphold Roe vs. Wade. But anyone with that stated stance would not have been approved by this Senate if he or she managed to get nominated in the first place.
How Bad Could It Have Been?
Bill Pryor, the circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, made it to Trump’s final list.
Pryor’s views on abortion are extreme: William Pryor & Abortion: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.
In contrast, Wikipedia notes that Neil Gorsuch “has never had the opportunity to write an opinion on Roe v. Wade. However, based on the opinions expressed in his book opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide, some speculate that he may tend to rule in favor of pro-life stances in abortion-related cases.”
The Wall Street Journal points out Judge Neil Gorsuch Is Critic of Legal Doctrine That Bolsters Executive Authority.
Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, is seen by the right as a credible heir to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But in one respect, his judicial record could offer Democrats something of a silver lining.
As a member of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Judge Gorsuch has emerged as a leading critic of a Reagan-era judicial doctrine that has helped to bolster the power of the executive branch.
Give Gorsuch a Chance
From my point of view, Democrats were damn fools to ask Trump to pick someone else.
We can all (except the homophobic radical right nut cases and radical right-to-lifers) be thankful that someone who openly opposes all abortions or who believes that gay people should be prosecuted for having sex, did not make it to the Supreme Court.
Pragmatically speaking, this is an excellent result.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
John McCain ought to know about stupid idiots.
I have no idea how he got reelected, or why he is to “go to” guy for republican—-when we have actual intelligent republicans like Rand Paul out there.
The media is beyond creepy anymore.
you leftists are going to get sick of Chuck Schumer and his idiocy also. Then you will know what it feels like.
Brad Ferguson said:
McCain is denying the rancor that has taken hold of Congress. Minus the nuclear option, the Democrats would basically be selecting the Supreme Court justices until or unless the Republicans held the requisite 60 seats. Apparently there are a number of unfilled court appointments below the level of the Supreme Court. These need to be filled in a timely manner using Reid’s “nuclear option” tool!
Medex Man said:
@FL sandy: “The media is beyond creepy”
+1 million (points don’t matter, but the media really has jumped the shark)
Of course the nuclear option was used, I predicted this 6 months ago….and yes, I like Gorsuch a lot, though I would have preferred Pryor.
Medex Man said:
The fact that the cult of San Fransisco has decided to openly oppose the legitimately elected government of the US is a huge problem. If we are honest, lots of of think Obama is a galactic sized a–hole, but we accepted him as president out of respect for the system and the office. We tried to oppose some of the really stupid things he did to change the country.
But the cult out of San Fran is openly calling for resistance to anything and everything. They aren’t attacking Trump or “de-legitimizing” him. They are attacking the whole system of government.
That is the problem. Using the hyperbole to get a well qualified candidate onto the geriatric court is but a symptom of the underlying crisis.
The hatred San Fransisco (its a cult, not really a city) has for the USA is the problem.
Dennis C said:
1. Why isn’t s simple majority in the Senate enough? Why do we need a 60 vote majority rule? We already have two houses of Congress and (theoretically) a federal system to disperse power. Yes, McCain is moron.
2. Democrats changed the rules back in 1987 when they refused to confirm the eminitely qualified Robert Bork on policy grounds alone. Leftist judges have transformed the court into a super-legislature, so it is entirely appropriate that political means should be used to get conservative judges appointed in their stead.
3. Sorry, Mish, there is no federal right to abortion granted by the constitution, even if you (and I) think it is good policy. Roe v. Wade was bad law, creating a new right out of thin air. As per the 10th amendment, social issues are to be decided at the state level. There is simply no federal interest here, at least none granted by the constitution.
There maybe 2 additional appointments during Trump’s term. The dem’s may have made a bigger mistake than they thought.
What Goes Around Comes Around.
Does that means Trump will be fired (impeached) since he ran a show on TV and made a career in show business by firing people?
john clark said:
We shouldn’t let gentlemen’s club rules completely pervert the judicial appointment process, in the end majority rules.
I think Gorsuch is going to do a Kennedy and be a swing vote on a lot of ideological issues.
“We shouldn’t let gentlemen’s club rules completely pervert the judicial appointment process…”
Gonna have to stop electing for democrats, then.
John J King said:
He is qualified to be on the SCOTUS. The worry over Roe v Wade being repealed would be ironic if it wasn’t so sad. Abortion was tolerated in the US in most States until the late 19th Century and not fully outlawed in every State until 1900. The Framers were of mixed opinion on the subject and several had grave reservations about it and it was specifically left out of the Constitution with the laws left to the individual States. 19th C. feminists such as Susan B. Anthony were opposed to abortion rightly arguing that the conditions that lead to a woman wishing to abort was the real problem. Nothing has really changed and it would surprise no one if a future generation would reverse the beliefs of this one. Regardless, it will take a dedicated effort on the part of pro-lifers to get a case to the Supremes.
I personally disagree with most of my friends on abortion but it has been re-legalized, so I may be saddened that the unborn are subjected to such violence but I also realize that it is the law and those who have or perform the surgery are within their rights
Jon Sellers said:
The actions by Senate Democrats was a terrible mistake in 2013 which lead to this terrible mistake by Republicans. The United States has been well served for over 200 years by requiring a 60% positive vote in the Senate. It has kept the Republic from see-sawing every 6 years and provided for some of the most stable governing institutions in the world.
2013 marked the end of that era. I was hoping Republicans, often the more conservative of the two parties, would have had the respect for tradition to uphold this successful system.The next time Democrats take control of the government, there will be nothing to stop them.
50 years from now history books will describe how this decision (and 2013) and the Citizen’s United decision spelled the final end of a prosperous nation.
Dennis C said:
So Democrat judges get to make new law from the bench, and Republicans are supposed to accept it as settle law? I don’t think so. As for Citizens, it was the fight decision, consistent with freedom of speech. Besides, the power of money in politics is exaggerated. Hillary outspent Trump 2-to-1, yet lost.
Jon Sellers said:
If not for the threat of filibuster, we would have socialist, single-payer health-care right now, not Obamacare. And it would be so popular it would be impossible to repeal. That is the world this decision is going to create.
there are still people willing to try and protect the poor. This single payer “dream: is idiocy at its highest form.
People will DIE waiting for health care. You are funneling everybody into the same system and you can imagine the wait time and outcome. We need MORE competition, not less, to drive prices down in healthcare.
Medex Man said:
If not for socialist a–holes like Jon Sellers and fascists like Witch Pelosi, the USA would have competitive health CARE instead of socialist, overpriced health insurance.
Hopefully karma will get Mr Sellers, maybe one of his children will suffer a horrid disease, but he will have plenty of over-priced government insurance with no actual health care available. Serves the little bastard (and his kid) right.
When you finally comprehend that every single decision made in the “hallowed” halls of congress, the executive branch, and yes, the judiciary, are all BOUGHT AND PAID FOR, and that YOU have NO representation at all, that’s right, NONE, YOU will be on the road to enlightenment.
“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” Thomas Jefferson
“Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks United States are Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders. In that dark crew of financial pirates there are those who would cut a man’s throat to get a dollar out of his pocket; there are those who send money into states to buy votes to control our legislatures; there are those who maintain International propaganda for the purpose of deceiving us into granting of new concessions which will permit them to cover up their past misdeeds and set again in motion their gigantic train of crime.”
Congressman Louis T. McFadden – served as Chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency during the Sixty-sixth through Seventy-first Congresses, or 1920-1931
“the continent their Fathers conquered” No president will frame USA that way again.
And one more thing….for those of you doing well in the stock market, counting your coins….check out the law. YOU are UNsecured CREDITOR of both the bank(s) and brokerage(s) which have your loot. So TRILLIONS for the banksters….but SCREW YOU.
Hey, Mish. Like you said “What goes around comes around”. The Dumbacrats invented the nuclear option. The GOP is just following their lead. It doesn’t feel so good when the shoe is on the other foot. Now listen to the whiners whine. They only have themselves to blame. But, of course, it will be Trump’s fault! ha.
The liberals are just pissed that the GOP blocked Obama from selecting the replacement for Scalia. So now they’re playing dirty. It really didn’t matter who Trump appointed. The liberals would have rejected the selection out of principle.
My hope is that Trump has the opportunity to appoint TWO more SCOTUS justices in the next 4 years. There is no guarantee that he will get reelected. So we have to may hay while the sun shines. If Trump can appoint THREE justices we’ll have the SCOTUS wrapped up for the next 25 years.
The SCOTUS option was always the MOST important part of Trump’s election. Even if he doesn’t achieve his goals the SCOTUS picks will make it all worth it.
I remember reading that the SCOTUS pick was a big factor in the post election polling as to the reasons behind the Donald’s win. He has followed through on his promise and that alone will keep many of his faithful behind him.
I hope he gets 2 – 3 more picks in the next 3 years. Got to believe there is a nurse/doctor at Ginsburg’s side 24/7 now.
It bothers me though that I read Trump is considering a strike on Assad. I was hoping that Trump wouldn’t be a warmonger regime change artist like Bush and Obama. And I don’t know how military action against the Assad government would set with the Russians who also have critical turf to protect over there. I wanted Trump to pull us out of the crap as opposed to getting us into more.
Tim Wallace said:
The Democrats want a kritocracy, where nothing we vote for or stand for matters, just what THEY want. It is time to have judges up and down the ladder that stand for LAWS, not their own personal opinions.
Bam! Make it so!
Mox Nix said:
“The NUCLEAR option”. I laugh. The Senate crowd using tabloid terms for their chambers gyrations is laughable. Remember the joke, “How do you know that a politician is lying?” What a bunch of dishonest sociopaths that we have elected.
Nuclear option, right. Like any of those exaulteds ever missed a single meal. Go through some tough times and reality sets in. These professional poisonous snowflakes are walking and spewing jokes, and are terrible examples for our yutes.
“Nuclear Option Used; Gorsuch Heads for Supreme Court: Good Thing or Not?”
As far as Gorsuch and SCOTUS is concerned, it is probably irrelevant as there may be a different kind of nuclear option at play on the world’s scene soon.
Karl Kolchak said:
Glad to see the filibuster finally die and majority rule become the norm in the Senate. No longer can either party while in the majority try to hide behind “obstructionism” from the other side when pressed as to why they can’t pass laws desired by the people who elected them.
Gorsuch is a non event. The next two justices, Kennedy and Ginsberg are the real show. Kennedy will probably leave soon and we will see how much longer Ginsberg can hold out.
According to a blog comment I read the nuclear option was not used, just extended.
From a blog comment by someone who rarely has a good word for Sen McConnell
“From a friend who’s connected to GOP insiders:
Mitch McConnell is a frickin’ genius.
Oh, and while I’m at it, not only was McConnell courageous, he was also smart. My buddy Marty Scott explains why (and yes, this is worth noting, because Republicans are rarely smart, particularly in matters of procedure):
“Instead of moving to amend the rules, McConnell made a Point of Order that under the rule change pushed through by the Democrats in 2013, nominations for Supreme Court do not require 60 votes. The Chair ruled that the Point of Order was not sustained. McConnell then appealed the ruling of the chair. Once the vote is taken on whether to sustain the ruling of the chair and the Chair is overruled, Republicans will be able to state factually correctly that they did not change the rules. By the procedure, it will be deemed that the removal of the 60 vote requirement was done by the Democrats’ 2013 rule change.”
I wonder why all the controversy? In 2003 The Democrats changed rules that had been in place for century’s. The filibuster was created by democrats at that time. We now have returned to the rules that were in place before 2003.