Senate Republicans Trigger Nuclear Option, "Crushing Democratic Blockade" Of Gorsuch

Tyler Durden's picture

In a historic vote, Senate Republicans on Thursday crushed "a Democratic blockade" - in Reuters' words - of Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, in a fierce partisan brawl, approving a rule change dubbed the "nuclear option" to allow for conservative judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation by Friday.

The Senate voted 52-48 along party lines to repeal a rule allowing filibusters against Supreme Court nominees,invoking the so-called nuclear option, and clearing the way for Gorsuch confirmation who now needs a simple majority for nomination. Shortly thereafter, the Sante voted 55-45 to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination, setting up a final vote expected Friday. Thanks to the new rule enacted earlier Thursday, a simple majority was needed.

"This will be the first and last partisan filibuster of the Supreme Court," Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor, accusing Democrats of trying to inflict political damage on Trump and to keep more conservatives from joining the high court.

"In 20 or 30 or 40 years, we will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court, a day when we irrevocably moved further away from the principles our founders intended for these institutions: principles of bipartisanship, moderation and consensus," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.

McConnell initiated the rules change by raising a point of order asserting that simple-majority votes should advance Supreme Court nominees to final confirmation votes. Democrats tried to delay it by offering motions to postpone a vote and to adjourn the chamber, but both fell short as Republicans stayed unified.

Earlier Thursday, McConnell said the rules change would restore the Senate’s tradition of considering a Supreme Court nominee based on credentials instead of ideology. He called the Democratic filibuster of Goruch “a radical move” and something “completely unprecedented in the history of our Senate.”  “This threatened filibuster cannot be allowed to succeed or to continue for the sake of the Senate, for the sake of the court and for the sake our country,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Democrats successfully blocked Gorsuch’s nomination from getting 60 votes earlier Thursday morning, prompting Republicans to go “nuclear” and change the rules to allow Gorsuch and future Supreme Court nominees to clear the Senate with only a simple majority.  Democrats tried to delay the rules change vote by offering motions to postpone a vote and to adjourn the chamber, but both fell short as Republicans stayed unified.

Democrat senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) voted with Republicans to allow President Trumps’s pick to move forward. 

Republicans defended the party-line vote on the nuclear option, saying Democrats were to blame for blocking Gorsuch, who they believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) argued that Democrats should “come to their senses.” 

“The truth of the matter is that throughout this process, the minority led by their leader has been desperately searching for a justification for their preplanned filibuster,” he said ahead of Thursday’s votes.

McConnell added that the current stalemate was part of a decades-long Democratic effort to “politicize the courts and the confirmation process.”  “The opposition to this particular nominee is more about the man that nominated him and the party he represents than the nominee himself,” he said.

Republicans hinted for weeks that President Trump’s nominee would be confirmed one way or another. McConnell confirmed during a leadership press conference that he had the votes to go “nuclear” if needed.

According to The Hill, Republicans appeared resigned to the tactics, arguing if Democrats won’t support Gorsuch — who received the American Bar Association’s highest rating — they won’t allow any GOP nominee to join the Supreme Court.

* * *

The Republican-backed rule change on Thursday maintains the ability to filibuster legislation. In the past, the nuclear option has been averted when moderates in the two parties compromised to avoid a showdown, but the ferocious partisanship in Washington now made that impossible.

Experts said eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments could make it more likely that presidents, with little incentive to choose centrist justices who could attract support from the other party, will pick ideologically extreme nominees in the future.

Ending the filibuster also would make it easier for future Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed when the president and Senate leadership belong to the same party.

With the failure of Republican healthcare legislation in Congress and with federal courts blocking the president's ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, securing Gorsuch's confirmation took on even greater importance for Trump, who took office in January.

* * *

Senate confirmation of Gorsuch, 49, would restore the nine-seat court's 5-4 conservative majority, enable Trump to leave an indelible mark on America's highest judicial body and fulfill a top campaign promise by the Republican president. Gorsuch could be expected to serve for decades.

The court's ideological leaning could help determine the outcome of cases involving the death penalty, abortion, gun control, environmental regulations, transgender rights, voting rights, immigration, religious liberty, presidential powers and more.

The nine-seat Supreme Court has had a vacancy since conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016.

* * *

Update 2:  Republican's start roll call to implement 'nuclear option':


Update 1:  As expected, Democrats have just voted to temporarily block Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, setting up a “nuclear option” vote for later in the day.  Around 11:30AM EST, Senators voted 55-45 on ending debate over President Trump’s pick leaving Republicans 5 votes shy of the 60 vote threshold required.

As we noted earlier, Republicans are planning a vote later today to remove the 60-vote threshold for cloture on Supreme Court nominees, lowering it to a simple majority.

And with that vote, the official Democrat policy objectives for the next two years have been publicly recorded:


* * *

Back in 2013, before Republicans seized control of the Senate during the 2014 mid-term elections, Democrats became the first party to pursue the "nuclear option" in order to appoint Obama judges over the objection of Republicans.  Both Obama and then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised the use of the "nuclear option" at the time:

Obama:  "The gears of government have to work. And the step that a majority of senators took today, I think, will help make those gears work just a little bit better."


Harry Reid:  "It's time to change. It's time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete."

And while Democrats celebrated, Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to warn his colleagues on the other side of the aisle that they just might come to regret their decision "sooner than you think."

"If you want to play games, set another precedent that you'll no doubt come to regret.  To my friends on the other side of the aisle, you'll regret this and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think."


Today, it's looking increasingly likely that "sooner" has come.  As NBC reports, barring some unexpected, last-minute deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will almost certainly trigger the so-called 'nuclear option' later today to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. 

Senators spent all day yesterday debating the matter, but the outcome — a permanent change in rules that will affect both the Senate and the nation's highest court — has been as good as settled since at least week when Democrats confirmed they had the votes required to block Gorsuch's nomination.

Here's how it will work:

The Senate is slated to hold a procedural vote, called a cloture around mid-day Thursday. Sixty votes are needed to end debate and move forward to a final vote that requires a simple majority of 51 to confirm Gorsuch.


But Democrats have enough votes to prevent, or filibuster that first step. When the cloture vote fails, McConnell is likely to begin the process of changing the rules to eliminate filibusters on Supreme Court nominations, with a vote on that expected later Thursday afternoon. Then the final up-or-down vote to confirm Gorsuch is expected to take place on Friday.

Meanwhile, the rule change will come after Senate Democrat Jeff Merkley wasted 15.5 hours 'filibustering' on the Senate floor overnight.  Ironically, as even Chuck Todd notes in the video below, Merkley fully supported the Democrats' use of the 'nuclear option' in 2013. 


As The Hill notes, a group of Republicans and Democrats led by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Christopher Coons (D-Del.) negotiated intensely over the weekend in hopes of avoiding a blowup over the rules, but they fell short.

“The negotiations with which I was heavily involved have failed to come up with a compromise, which saddens me. There’s so little trust between the two parties that it was very difficult to put together an agreement that would avert changing the rules,” Collins told reporters.


“I worked very hard over the weekend, as did several Democrats and several Republicans, but we were not able to reach an agreement,” Collins added, estimating that about 10 lawmakers were involved.


The group held calls as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as midnight in hopes of avoiding a rule change adopted along party lines.


Coons said the talks fell apart because of pressure from Senate leaders, who weren’t interested in a deal, and from the conservative and liberal bases of the party, who view the Supreme Court’s composition as a top priority.


“The fact that both leaders were opposing negotiations also, frankly, made it difficult,” Coons said. “Both caucus leadership and outside groups were a source of steady and aggressive pressure against some consensus negotiation, in both parties.”

Of course, while Republicans will undoubtedly declare victory tomorrow upon Gorsuch's nomination, it's only a matter of time before the tables are turned once again and their decision comes back to haunt them. 

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buzzsaw99's picture

twin nukes named "fat boy" and "little hands".

Ghost of Porky's picture

Forget Gorsuch. Put Bannon in and pull the nuclear option. Watch Chris Matthews swallow his own tongue live on TV.

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

This is going to make it mush easier for the Senate to fire and then promote Ted Cruz to the Court. 

Looney's picture

Awww… The Nuclear Option…

From the get-go, the Gorsuch confirmation hearings and the vote should’ve been held at Fukushima or Chernobyl.

I like my politicians glowing in the dark. All of’em!  ;-)


Looney's picture


And in Other News

A Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, drowned this morning while taking her daily swim in the Washing Machine.

Her decomposing body was found within minutes of the accident.

Our thoughts are with the people of New Zealand where the always drunken dingbat wanted to move to.   ;-)


Ignatius's picture

Gorsuch can't be worse than Merrick 'OKC cover-up' Garland.

lester1's picture





Garland !!

Manthong's picture

Hopefully Gorsuch can live up to the Scalia Standard.

Schumer might consider building a fallout shelter…

This is only the first of several more nukes to be dropped on his lying, hypocritical ass.

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Our "leaders"... always taking the short, expedient view. We're going to get a doozie of a Supreme from the Dems one day. Van Jones? Bill Ayres?

NoDebt's picture

"In 20 or 30 or 40 years, we will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court, a day when we irrevocably moved further away from the principles our founders intended for these institutions: principles of bipartisanship, moderation and consensus"

That's fucking hysterical.  Principles of our founding fathers.... show me where in the Constitution it says you need 60 votes to confirm a SOTUS nominee.  That entire bullshit about 60 votes for judicial appointments was put in place by the Ds under GW Bush specifically to STOP him from making judicial appointments.  Fuck off, Chuckie Schumer.


MEFOBILLS's picture

The supreme court has overwhelming Jewish representation, and they push their ingroup ethnic agenda.  This is why Schumer and Zionist shills are issuing forth their sly lies.

A country cannot survive an internal fith column undermining its civilization.


“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”
SWRichmond's picture

We read the Orations Against Cataline in 9th grade, actually junior high school then.

Yes, I said "junior high school".  In Latin, bitches.

tyrone's picture

overwhelming? OVERWHELMING?! well lets see:

1. Roberts... Catholic
2. Alito... Catholic
3. Thomas... catholic
4. Sotomayor..Catholic
5. Ginsberg.. Jewish
6. Kagan... Jewish
7. Breyer.. Jewish
8. Kennedy.. Catholic
9. Gorsuch.. Catholic

NumberNone's picture

Let's be honest...the Dems wanted the Repubs to go nuclear.  They continue to drink the MSM kool-aid and think Trump/Repubs are only going to be the majority for a short period of time.  They think the Repubs just cleared the path for them to select Supreme Court judges by simple majority going forward without having to do it themselves.  

MalteseFalcon's picture


When the Democrats re-emerge from the political wilderness sometime in the second half of the century.

In other news, next up for replacement on the SB:  Anthony Kennedy and Ruthie Ginzburg.

GunnerySgtHartman's picture

Chuck-You Schumer needs a straitjacket and a padded cell.  I look forward to seeing his head explode.

divingengineer's picture

Ginsburg and Kennedy could be in play.  That is a much more interesting game than the one we've been playing so far. 

MalteseFalcon's picture

Wait until Pryor gets sent up to the court.

Good times.

SWRichmond's picture

fierce partisan brawl

There’s so little trust between the two parties

When you jackwads start punching each other, that'll be a brawl. Based Stick Man for senator!

Hey Ginsberg, how're you feeling?  Gonna make another four years?  I am seeing Mike Lee in your seat.

Hey Schumer: fuck you.

vealparm's picture

I'd like to see Ginsburg and Kennedy take a nice weekend trip and do some quail hunting at a remote Texas ranch.

J S Bach's picture

Finally, these useless bastards have done something useful and effective.  And it doesn't matter about it "coming back to haunt them later".  They allowed the likes of Ginsberg and the other (((commie))) "Breathing Constitutioners" to distort what was once our holiest document.  Hopefully, Trump's appointees can repeal much of their criminal nonsensical edicts over the past 50 years.

Helix6's picture

Live UP to the Scalia standard? 

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

What sad day for America. The precedent set today will haunt us for decades, if not until the republic falls, which today's actions more than likely hasten. April 6th, 2017, a shameful day indeed.

Shitonya Serfs's picture

Yep. Now Oligarchs have to bribe/threaten much fewer politicians.

worbsid's picture

I want Judge Napolitano next for SCOTUS.

NoPension's picture





Hannity...why not?

......I could go on and on....


BTW...for all the naysayers...this is the real prize!


BarkingCat's picture

I want some Amish farmer.

A person that has never heard any lawyer dribble and will simply read the constitution and say "these words are simple to understand".

Carl Spackler's picture

No it will not. Get a hold of yourself.

The ability to filibuster a judicial nominee has NOT even been in place for "decades."

The Senate rule to do such was implemented by the Democrats in 2003. We are going back to the original Senate rules and the spirit of the Constitution.

Zorba's idea's picture

Spot on! This is the real story, The Senate is returning to the original protocol...simple majority to decide on nominees. 2003 the spineless Repugnicons rolled over...perhaps the beginning of the RINO caucus.

SWRichmond's picture

The precedent haunting us forever is the Yankee's refusal to vacate Fort Sumter, and then invading Virginia.

BullyBearish's picture

This will GUARANTEE shrumps agenda will pass swimmingly through congress...bipartisanship here we come...

HRClinton's picture

New Zealand?  That's odd. She confided in me, that she is to be buried at the Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem. 

"Where your heart is, there your body is also." - HRC

Winston Churchill's picture

I hope for your sake that wasn't pillow talk.

J S Bach's picture

The language is always funny to me...

Republicans "seize control".  No.  They were duly elected by the sheeple.  I wish there WAS a party of real, honest, untouchable men who would "seize" control and execute every traitor in our government.  Of course, this would mean 95% of the groveling lickspittles in Congress meeting their much-deserved doom.

847328_3527's picture

The Democrats have sooo destroyed this nation it is up to the handful of Republicam p[atriots to try healing it. This is the first step.


They NEED to work on SoweetoCare and tax reform for the midle class badly.

Oh yeah, and they need to fire Comey and start arresting these criminals like Hillary, Huma, etc. NO MORE immunities handed out.

DanDaley's picture

The Democrats have sooo destroyed this nation...


Exactly, like when 7 Democrat Supreme Court justices created segregation (and a further 60+ years of hell for blacks) through Plessy vs Ferguson in 1897 against 1 Republican justice, Harlan of Kentucky. Another Kentuckian led the Senate today today to stop the viciousness and nation destroying insanity of the Democrats. 

Zorba's idea's picture

I'm long gone considering the DIMocrats vs RepubliCONS when attempting to attribute blame for our lost Republic. The "Two Party" system is a charade! Both parties have been auctioned off to the highest bidders. The Left wing and the Right wing flap for the same dirty bird.

tyrone's picture

doesn't matter anyhow... the next non-republican president will be from the new 3rd party as yet unknown namewise.
Reason being, the existing democrat party is coming unglued.
Ths decaying Democrat party has waay too many diverse groups to remain together in any sense. That plus the unbelievable backstabbing of Bernie Sanders will cause mass exodus of youth out of the old Democrat party into the new liberal party.

You heard it here first.


Hey, Bachie, I like your style. 

Expand it a bit to cover the IRS, the FED, and the 17 secret squirrel agencies using our tax money to ruin the world one fake news excuse for war at a time. 

Heck, throw in the DOL while you are at it - nasty little power mad bureaucrats all over that fucking waste of money, too.  

Reality Creator's picture

I'll always remember your comment that went something like this:

"Borders between nations are the fences between the stock pens." Quoted you in my book.

Yog Soggoth's picture
Reminds me of this Caesar's last breath - Vendian I read another one about Hitler's ghost but I can't find it now.
Mtnrunnr's picture

I hope you guys enjoyed a constitutional democracy involving a minority party because we just waved that goodbye. Let the epitaph read: "but judges"

Winston Churchill's picture

Show us where cloture requiring 60 votes is in the constitution.

Its a realatively new bad rule that thwarts democracy which is not even what the republic is.

booboo's picture

what the fuck is a "Constitutional Democracy" those two words are in opposing catagory's. What? it is constitutional until we vote it away? We are a republic or at least were until your ilk conviced everyone that rights are arbitrary and the constituion is a "living breathing document that must change with the times"

Other than that all McConnell did was return the senate back to the rules before the democrats started this filibuster shit on bush nominations of lower courts.

Mtnrunnr's picture

I believe "constitutional democracy" was a form of government that was covered in 9th grade civics class, or did you not make it that far.

Nick Jihad's picture

Show me where in the constitution it says that you can abort a pregnancy, but only in the first two trimesters.  This is about _restoring_ constitional government.

Mtnrunnr's picture

You see those are laws. And the federal government has the authority to both create and enforce a las.