Neil Gorsuch and The Nuclear Option
April 5, 2017
Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, has been the subject of intense debate between both senate Democrats and Republicans.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (NY) has threatened a filibuster from his party in an attempt to obstruct the President and the Republican party in advancing Gorsuch as the 9th justice on the nation’s highest court, claiming that Trump should nominate a more “mainstream nominee.”
This heated debacle comes out of spite when the senate Republican’s refused to hold hearings for President Obama’s former nominee, Merrick Garland. This refusal for hearings had Democrats fuming and was a key talking point throughout the election for both major parties.
The Democrats claim that the seat was stolen from Garland and that he deserves to have a hearing at the very least.
While the Republican’s wanted the next president, either Democratic or Republican to be tasked with nominating the next justice to fill the vacated spot.
But, the 115th Congress is set to change how hearings and voting work forever.
In a time when some thought unorthodox “Trump like” politics may have been put to rest for a little, constituents were sorely mistaken.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (KY) claimed that Gorsuch’s nomination is in the hands of the Democratic party, and if they go through with their plan to filibuster and attempt to leave his nomination in limbo, that they would be forced to invoke the “nuclear option.”
With estimated votes, the Republican majority, plus three Democratic senators will break ranks and vote in favor of Gorsuch’s nomination. The three Democrats are: Joe Manchin (WV), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Donnelly (IN).
But what is this nuclear option?
In order to end a filibuster, a 60 vote threshold is required for cloture on a filibuster. But, since Republicans hold the majority in the senate, they can change the floor rules for it to only require a simple majority and not a super majority.
If the filibuster ends, all the senate needs to vote and confirm judge Gorsuch is a simple majority, in which he would become the next justice on the court and fill the vacated seat of conservative justice Antonin Scalia, who passed in February 2016.
It is most likely Gorsuch will be confirmed, but his nomination will have set the new precedent for low blows and dirty politics, this now shows that party is more important than country.