ANOTHER “NUCLEAR OPTION?”
Given that there’s been very little real difference between Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C. for the past few decades, you’d think the two major parties could find a way to get along when it came to confirming each other’s cabinet selections and judicial nominees.
After all, they have no problem agreeing when it comes to blowing trillions of our tax dollars.
You’d be wrong, though …
Back in 2013, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate invoked the so-called “nuclear option” as a way of ramming through dozens of U.S. president Barack Obama’s most controversial appointees to various executive and judicial branch posts.
Just like that, controversial appointees who once required sixty votes for confirmation by the U.S. Senate only required fifty votes (as long as Democratic vice president Joe Biden was in the chair as the tie-breaking vote).
We were never especially exercised on this issue … but now that a Republican president is about to make a slew of appointments, the issue is being raised again.
In a provocative editorial published on NetRightDaily, the “nuclear option” is referenced as it relates to U.S. president-elect Donald Trump‘s cabinet appointees – including attorney general-designee Jeff Sessions.
“Senate Democrats cannot block Jeff Sessions from becoming Attorney General without at least three Republican Senator votes because of a decision by the Democrats when they were in the majority to eliminate the 60-vote confirmation threshold for Cabinet officials and all federal judges below the Supreme Court,” the editorial noted. “This ensures that Trump nominees, like Jeff Sessions, don’t need a single vote from a Democrat to be confirmed and can actually lose the votes of two Republican Senators and still be confirmed with the vote of the Vice President, who has the power to break ties.”
This is as it should be. Fair is fair. Democrats lived by this particular sword, now they must die by it.
But this editorial goes one step further and suggests the GOP should extend the “nuclear option” to cover appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Why? Because of a threat made by U.S. Senate minority leader Charles Schumer to block any Trump nominee to the high court.
“It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Wait … didn’t GOP Senators just block Obama from appointing a Supreme Court justice? Yes, they did. And we supported them in that effort (in part because Obama deserved it given his contempt for the Constitution, and in part because it was the only time congressional Republicans ever really stood up to him).
Nevertheless … the conundrum remains.
In light of Schumer’s threat, should GOP Senators extend the Democrats’ “nuclear option” to Supreme Court picks?
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should take Schumer at his word and take the necessary steps to end the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees before anyone is chosen by Trump,” the NetRightDaily editorial noted. “This way it is not about an individual nominee but about whether any nominee would be confirmed, taking away any moral ground that Schumer might attempt to secure.”
Hard to argue that point …
Doing away with the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court picks would level this playing field once and for all – and deal Democrats a dose of the medicine they doled out to Republicans four years ago. It would also force liberals who enthusiastically embraced the overbearing executive actions of the Obama administration to choose between silence and hypocrisy in their response.
“Equal justice under the law,” right?
What do you think? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …
Should the Supreme Court filibuster be eliminated?
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