Thursday, April 6, 2017

Did the "Nuclear Option" Kill the Filibuster?

It appears that the Republicans have exercised the "Nuclear Option", that is, ramming through a rule change which means that a Supreme Court nominee can be approved by a simple majority:
What is unclear is if this rule change applies to other situations. If so, it seems that the filibuster is effectively dead as an obstructive tool. I have long thought that it should die, since its only function is to block something that can't be blocked by more rational and adult means. Both sides have used it; which is probably why the filibuster option has remained for this long. Time to put a fork in it.  Michael Sean Winters makes a good case for that here:


  1. I think there is a good reason for the filibuster. The senate is supposed to be about more than majority rule. The Republicans denying Obama's pick even a hearing for 10 months and then forcing Gorsuch on us instead of considering someone more moderate .... I know I'm not alone in feeling a kind of rage about this.

  2. I thought it was shameful the way they treated Merrick Garland and that they should have approved him. I just hate the "you did it to us, so we'll do it to you" mentality of reading out of a phone book or dictionary for hours on end for no other reason than to block a vote.

  3. Well, they did have reasons other than Garland - I listened to some of the senators like Feinstein, Sanders, Franken,. They cited his past decisions that touched on torture, women's health care, corporations over people, Citizens United, etc. He isn't a moderate by any stretch of the imagination and now he will be making decisions for the next few decades that we will all have to live with.

    And about Garland - it's not about revenge, it's about accountability. What the Repubs did will have lasting consequences. They should have to pay for that. I know the rest of us will.

  4. There are two empty seats on the independent Federal Reserve Board for which Addison Mitchell McConnell threw Obama nominees into the wastebasket, A half-dozen other regulatory bodies are short members for ditto reason. In most cases they are Democratic seats, which Trump can't fill. But if he fills the other seats, non-partisan agencies become partisan. That condition pre-existed the exercise of the nuclear option. I assume that as long as there is a Republican president and a Republican Senate the Senate will do its duty with regard to nominees. Trump won't strain them; he seems to have trouble finding people to take government jobs these days. I further assume that no Democratic president will get anyone seated as long as the strange fellow from Kentucky is majority leader. I further assume the Democrats won't figure out what to do about it. I hope I am wrong.

    Sen. Graham is correct in saying that future Senate elections will be fought over who gets to be an elector for the next Supreme Court vacancy. He is wrong in saying that is because of Gorsuch's nomination. It is, like everything else, because of Addison Mitchell McConnell. He may not look or sound like much, but in a roomful of fingers in the wind, anyone who knows what he wants can get it.

  5. This didn't carry any water, either: