Senate Republicans Just Threw The U.S. Into Dictatorship
In a historic move Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and his fellow Republicans just threw the U.S. into one-party-rule after triggering the so-called “nuclear option” that allowed the GOP to break a Democratic filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
The move came after Democrats blocked the nomination under the previous 60-vote threshold. Democrats argued that Gorsuch, a Colorado federal appeals court judge, was simply too conservative, and were nearly united in filibustering his nomination.
The controversial changes to Senate rules, made along partisan lines, allows filibusters of Supreme Court picks to be broken with only 51 votes rather than 60.
The historic move ends the Senate minority’s power to block nominees and clears a path for Gorsuch.
Democrats criticized Republicans for the way they treated President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, who was denied both a hearing and a vote last year.
“That name is the reason we are in this spot today,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of Garland. “For the first time in the history of the Senate, for the first time ever, this Republican-led Senate refused to give this nominee a hearing and a vote. It had never, underline the word never, happened before.”
Republicans said the other side was making history of their own by carrying out the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.
“We need to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate and get past this unprecedented partisan filibuster,” McConnell said, moments before rattling off procedural speak that set the rules change in motion.
It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster. Since there are 52 Republicans, and they could only come up with a few Democrats to join them in voting to end the filibuster, the only way McConnell could confirm Gorsuch was to change the rules by challenging that 60-vote standard, and then demanding a vote on it.
“This is going to be very bad,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Monday. “If you want to get a judge on the court you better have a majority. So this is going to haunt the Senate, it is going to change the judiciary, and it’s so unnecessary.”
There you have it. Republicans just moved the U.S. closer to a dictatorship.