Republicans Get Ready to Go Nuclear

Posted: Apr 06, 2017 7:30 AM

Republicans are ready to use the nuclear option Thursday in their effort to confirm President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Democrats and independents have vowed to deny Republicans the 60 votes required for Supreme Court nominees to proceed to final passage, meaning the GOP will change the Senate rules for advancing a nominee to the high court—bringing the threshold down to a simple majority.

As Matt reported Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that Republicans have the votes to break the Democratic filibuster of Gorsuch.

The votes to end debate on the judge’s nomination and change the rule are expected Thursday morning.

As Sen. Tom Cotton explained, there’s a big difference in Republican and Democratic use of the nuclear option.

“For 214 years the Senate had never, not once, in a partisan filibuster defeated a nominee to the courts or to the executive branch,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper Tuesday.

“That all changed in 2003 when Chuck Schumer persuaded Democrats to begin filibustering judges. Then that continued under the Obama era, and the Democrats used the so-called nuclear option in 2013.

“There’s a world of difference between Republicans using a tool that the Democrats first abused in 2013 to restore a 214-year-old tradition that the Democrats first violated in 2003.

“After this week, we’ll be back to where that 214 tradition was, which is that nominees should get an up or down vote. And that’s probably where we should’ve stayed all along.”