Thursday, April 6, 2017

On the Application of the Nuclear Option

Senator Jeff Merkley on the Nuclear Option and the Confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

As if more than a handful of vulnerable Senate Democrats would allow for a confirmation vote of Neil Gorsuch. In the end, three Democrats (Sen. Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sen. Donnelly (D-IN)) crossed party lines to vote for cloture. 

It is dubious that the public applies this legitimacy standard to the packed DC Circuit, which then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid first used the nuclear option.  Hence it is not as much the "nuclear option" as the clarification of the Reid Rule.  

Some may justly argue that it is the Constitutional Option, as cloture is nowhere in America's organic organizational documents, but merely a modern Senate innovation (first implemented in 1917 and modified in 1975).

Once again, thank you Dirty Harry Reid.  Now it will be easier for President Trump (and future Chief Executives) to nominate and confirm Justices who are not mysteries nor necessarily amenable to the political Senate minority of the time.

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