Republicans Threaten Nuclear Option to Confirm Gorsuch

Democrats are close to having the required votes to defeat Neil Gorsuch. Republicans will then change the rules to allow passage by 51 votes (the nuclear option.)

If that means that radical right justices like William Pryor can be confirmed by 51 votes, I am not in favor of the filibuster. Trump may get to name several supreme court judges over the next few years, if he stays in office that long, and the damage he will do to the Supreme Court and federal judiciary where there are 100 vacancies, is enormous. I'm not a supporter of Gorsuch or his opinions, but he's not in the same league as William Pryor (or John Yoo, for that matter -- how long before his name comes up?)

Republicans lie through their teeth when they say they don't want activist judges. That's exactly what they want. From a TL post in 2005:

In fact, Republicans favor judicial activism. They want judges who will actively disregard the Bill of Rights and civil rights laws in favor of the religious right's agenda. Indeed, one of the judicial nominees whose consideration may trigger the nuclear option is an unabashed judicial activist.

Janice Rogers Brown of the California Supreme Court, has long declared her contempt for judicial precedent, notably writing in one opinion, "If our hands really are tied, it behooves us to gnaw through the ropes."

As People for the American Way said in 2005:

We oppose the nominations of unqualified, out-of-the-mainstream judges who would turn back the clock on decades of progress in securing fundamental rights and liberties, including civil rights, privacy rights, reproductive rights, environmental safeguards, workers’ rights, consumer rights, and religious liberty; and we support the withholding of Senate consent to such nominations through the use of the filibuster if necessary.

Federal Judgeships are for life. Someone other than one of the three blind mice need to do the choosing.

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    Well, all I have (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 02:09:51 PM EST
    to say is go for it and destroy the filibuster if you're willing to go that far to put Vladimir's pick for the supreme court.

    The filibuster will not keep Pryor (5.00 / 7) (#2)
    by caseyOR on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 02:33:42 PM EST
    and others of that ilk off the Supreme Court. As long as Republicans control the Senate and the White House they can get anyone they want on the Court. If the Democrats back down do not force the filibuster,  and let Gorsuch be confirmed Pryor or someone like him could well be the next nominee.

    And what would you have Democrats do then? Sit passively by and let another authoritarian rightwinger take a seat on the Court? If the Dems do not fight it with Gorsuch, they will have to fight next time. The Republicans will opt for the nuclear option as soon as Dems stand in their way. Might as well get it over with.

    Let's just do away with the fiction that the Republicans play by any of the old accepted rules. There is no collegiality in the Senate, or the House for that matter. It is trench warfare right now. The sooner the Democrats accept that and fight accordingly the better.

    Don't belive in (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 03:32:25 PM EST
    keeping your powder dry....for another fight at another time.

    I came to realize this with the wins for marriage equality.  I used to believe the advocates of marriage equality needed to get the timing right, and "keep their powder dry" to avoid fights they could not win.  But, no, the advocates fought hard at every step, never waiting for tomorrow.  Didn't matter if they  lost a round or two; they kept at it. And they created their own momentum.

    No backing down now on Gorsuch and the filibuster.  Go down swinging. To not use the filibuster now would demoralize the base.



    If you don't stand for something, ... (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 03:38:25 PM EST
    ... you'll fall for anything. At this point, Democrats need to appeal to history for eventual vindication. Their opposition is fueled by a grievously misplaced sense of personal entitlement and moral superiority. And history has generally been quite unkind in its judgments of those who've fostered resentment and stoked outrage against "The Others."

    The Reid option (1.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 03:10:35 PM EST
    The Reid option is the accepted rule.

    Fine (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 03:34:44 PM EST
    Get rid of the filibuster.  The whole thing. And we can start with respect to judges.

    Liberals and Progressives should oppose the filibuster as generally undemocratic to begin with.


    That was part of the old debate (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 05:14:00 PM EST
    between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, our first two political parties, many of whom on both sides were Founders/Framers and old Revolutionary War compatriots. The debate dates to the early 19th Century, if not the the Constitutional Convention itself. The Question: How much democracy do we really want, vs. how much protection in how many forms against populism or "mob rule" (which many of them believed would lead to rule by demagogues)? Same as it ever was.

    It is? That's strange (none / 0) (#10)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 07:42:23 PM EST
    Considering when Reid invoked the rule change it specifically did NOT apply to ordinary legislation  or Supreme Court nominees.

    You guys really need to hire better talking point writers.


    C'mon, they have their best on the job already! (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Erehwon on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 08:06:37 PM EST
    Good grief (2.75 / 4) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Apr 04, 2017 at 12:51:43 AM EST
    Reid changed the rules to get the result he wanted. That is the Reid option.

    Sen. Reid changed the rules because ... (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Apr 04, 2017 at 04:05:14 AM EST
    ... Republicans were abusing the filibuster rule, employing it as part of a strategy of nullification to undermine the federal courts, executive agencies and ultimately, American voters.

    GOP senators employed the filibuster over 400 times while Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate between the years 2009 and 2015. 84 of President Obama's executive appointments were blocked as a result of filibuster.

    To place the latter number in perspective, please note that prior to Obama taking office in 2009, only 68 executive branch nominations were blocked in total between the years 1789 and 2007.

    Personally, I'm fine with getting rid of the filibuster. Most state legislatures don't have it, and the world hasn't ended. Republican intransigence during the Obama years proved that it's clearly outlived its usefulness as a legislative tool, and has become a vehicle which serves only to retard the scene.



    So named after Reid ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Yman on Tue Apr 04, 2017 at 07:14:50 PM EST
    ... because Reid was the first to "change the rules to get the result he wanted."


    BTW - See Donald's post to see the REAL reason.  Maybe we should call it the Republican Obstruction Rule.


    according to wiki (none / 0) (#19)
    by linea on Sun Apr 09, 2017 at 03:39:14 PM EST
    you are correct. i feel the members of the democratic party should have been building consensus, perhaps even passing binding legislation, to maintain the super-majority vote rule rather than poking the first hole in the dyke.

    The nuclear option has only been used in practice twice--in 2013 and 2017....

    On November 21, 2013, Senate Democrats used the nuclear option to require only a majority vote to end a filibuster of certain executive and judicial nominees, not including Supreme Court nominees. [Reid]

    On April 6, 2017, Senate Republicans changed the rules to include Supreme Court nominees as part of the "nuclear option".

    Wiki doesn't call it the "Reid rule" (none / 0) (#20)
    by Yman on Sun Apr 09, 2017 at 04:32:57 PM EST
    Moreover, they never used such an option with SC nominees, as Republicans just did.  Does the Wiki entry mention the unprecedented obstruction of Republicans who used the filibuster to obstruct 79 nominees, more in 4 years than in the entire previous existence of the country?

    BTW - What "binding legislation" do you imagine would prevent a subsequent Senate from changing the rules?  How is it you think they would have gotten such imaginary legislation passed in a Republican Senate


    I'm with you (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 06:08:36 PM EST
    if the GOP wants to go nuclear go for it. Time is not on their side and they know it and that's why they are opting for desperate measures. Whatever. Like you said it's not going to keep any of the other people they want off the court should it come to that. They will just nuke the filibuster then. And then they can cry all they want the next time a judge comes up and there's a D president.

    2018 (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by KD on Mon Apr 03, 2017 at 03:24:18 PM EST
    Our big hope is that Democrats take the senate (and maybe house) in 2018. Then a lot of our problems go away. We can keep out bad appointments, hold onto Obamacare, have real investigations and maybe even an impeachment.

    Nothing Binds McConnell on the Filibuster (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by HenryFTP on Wed Apr 05, 2017 at 10:45:01 AM EST
    The Merrick Garland "precedent" set by Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate caucus should be irrefutable proof that a majority caucus led by McConnell will not be bound by any deal struck for the Gorsuch nomination or indeed as to any other critical vote. The McConnell caucus is clearly willing to amend the Senate Rules by majority vote at any time. When they were in the minority they were perfectly happy to abuse the cloture rules so that "filibusters" no longer required any actual filibustering, and in the majority they're clearly prepared to dispense with the cloture rule without even so much as trying to accommodate the minority. Democrats are still sadly behind the curve as to just how little respect today's Republican Party has for the norms of American politics that existed prior to the Gingrich Revolution in 1994. Bob Michel and Howard Baker have both now passed away and nobody like them is coming back to lead the Republican caucuses anytime soon.

    Gorsuch is reported (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Wed Apr 05, 2017 at 12:56:22 PM EST
    to have copied structure and language used by several authors and failed to cite source material in his book (The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia),  Language is verbatim to a 1984 article in the Indiana Law Journal, without attribution. Other of Gorsuch's so called scholarly articles included borrowed ideas.  The White House has claimed, in response, that legal scholarship does not document sources as is the case in other disciplines.  More fake news, since legal briefs and articles include citations and footnotes galore.

    If only, when I was in a law course (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Towanda on Thu Apr 06, 2017 at 12:31:28 PM EST
    I could have told the prof that Trump said that I did not need to do citations.  Ohhh, that Shepherdizing (sp?), before the Internet, was a killer.

    For that matter, all of those law journal articles would have been a breeze to read, if I could have ignored the footnotes that comprised, in many cases, 90 percent of the pages.

    Seriously, as I know that I have posted before:  I have been plagiarized, and it hurts like hell.  So, now I have another reason to despise Gorsuch and those who support him -- and thus support plagiarism.


    Se. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), is now (none / 0) (#15)
    by caseyOR on Tue Apr 04, 2017 at 07:41:47 PM EST
    Filibustering the Gorsuch nomination. He is doing it the old-fashioned way, he is talking. Right now Jeff is holding forth on the floor of the Senate.

    I agree with whatever pundit I read that said (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 10, 2017 at 12:19:03 PM EST
    a power to filibuster that you are only allowed to use once, and then lose, is no good anyway. Let McConnell go nuclear.

    I agree with Jeralyn (none / 0) (#22)
    by Green26 on Mon Apr 10, 2017 at 01:27:09 PM EST
    The Dems shouldn't have forced the Repubs to change the voting rules on this nominee. He was qualified. He should have been confirmed, just as Garland should have been confirmed. Now, my guess is that Trump will be emboldened to select more partisan nominees, if he gets other chances. I can't imagine that the Dems thought that Trump/Repubs would back off from changing the rules, as they had said they would.

    I doubt Trump needed to be emboldened (none / 0) (#23)
    by jondee on Mon Apr 10, 2017 at 02:09:50 PM EST
    by anything or anyone, to be encouraged to select partisan nominees.

    He already proved himself more than willing to sell his soul to devil quite awhile back with his remarks about jailing women who'd undergone abortions.


    Well, if he gets another pick, (none / 0) (#24)
    by Green26 on Mon Apr 10, 2017 at 02:48:40 PM EST
    my guess is that the pick will be more partisan the his first pick. We shall see.