By Ada Taylor
On Thursday, April 6th, the Senate triggered a policy known as the nuclear option that makes it possible to break a filibuster. It all took place over President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who many Democrats feel is unsuited for the job.
This is because “he always sides with corporations instead of people” says Leah Grey, senior. Other reasons include his support for the death penalty, his promotion of gun rights, and his judicial philosophy in general.
This was enough to make Democrats decide a filibuster was necessary. For those who do not know, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a filibuster as “the use of extreme dilatory tactics (as by making long speeches) in an attempt to delay or prevent action, especially in a legislative assembly.
As we know, the Democratic filibuster was unsuccessful and Neil Gorsuch was confirmed due to the nuclear option. It was given this name because it is supposed to be the last resort. The nuclear option makes it possible for the majority party in the Senate to ignore the minority by shifting the rules so that a nominee can be confirmed as long as they have the majority of votes, which is 51. Previously, 60 votes were required.
As bad as this is, too many politicians are playing the blame game instead of looking at the big picture. Instead, they are focusing on how Democrats used the nuclear option in 2013 to advance lower court and executive branch nominees. Now Senator Rand Paul is saying “Harry Reid decided that executive nominations will be done by simple majority, and we just simply went with the Harry Reid rule today.”
Still, it is not quite the same thing. While Democrats did indeed invoke the nuclear option, it was for lower court nominees – not the highest in the land. I am afraid that we have now entered a new age of politics which allows the majority party to clear Supreme Court nominees with little to no bipartisan support. This means that the Supreme Court is now in the hands of the majority party, with the minority party getting no input.
While it may be the Democrats today, it could be the Republicans tomorrow – and neither is good.