Dirty deeds done dirt cheap: GOP kills Senate filibuster rule for SCOTUS justices


Authoritarian Tea-Publicans have gone “nuclear” and blown up the Senate filibuster rules. The New York Times reports, Senate Republicans Deploy ‘Nuclear Option’ to Clear Path for Gorsuch:

Senate Republicans changed longstanding rules on Thursday to clear the way for the confirmation of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, bypassing a precedent-breaking Democratic filibuster by allowing the nomination to go forward on a simple majority vote.

Lawmakers convened late Thursday morning to decide whether to end debate and advance to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch. Republicans needed 60 votes — at least eight Democrats and independents joining the 52-seat majority — to end debate on the nomination and proceed to a final vote.

Only a handful of Democrats defected, and the vote failed, 55-45, leaving Republicans to choose between allowing the president’s nominee to fail or bulldozing long-held Senate practice.

[The chamber then voted] on a party-line vote, with all 52 Republicans voting to overrule Senate precedent and all 48 Democrats and liberal-leaning independents voting to keep it.

The Senate then voted 55-45 to cut off debate — four votes more than needed under the new rules — and move to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation Friday evening, with a simple majority needed for approval.

In deploying the so-called nuclear option, lawmakers are fundamentally altering the way the Senate operates — a sign of the body’s creeping rancor in recent years after decades of at least relative bipartisanship on Supreme Court matters. Both parties have likewise warned of sweeping effects on the future of the court, predicting that the shift will lead to the elevation of more ideologically extreme judges if only a majority is required for confirmation.

For weeks, the outcome of the Senate fight has appeared preordained, even as members lamented its inevitability as a low moment for the chamber.

The longest-serving senator, Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, had initially said he was disinclined to embrace a filibuster. But on Wednesday, he railed against his Republican colleagues from the Senate floor.

“They have no interest in playing by the rules,” he said. “They prefer to break them.”

And so we are just procedural votes away from authoritarian Tea-Publicans completing their crime against democracy, the theft of a Supreme Court seat, and establishing a dangerous new precedent. Justice Gorsuch will forever be tainted by the illegitimacy of how he ascended to the high  court.

UPDATE: “Mission accomplished.” Neil Gorsuch Confirmed by Senate as Supreme Court Justice:

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on Friday to become the 113th justice of the Supreme Court, capping a political brawl that lasted for more than a year and tested constitutional norms inside the Capitol’s fraying upper chamber.

The final tally was 54-45 in favor of confirmation (3 Democratic defections: Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly). Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) did not vote.


  1. “And so we are just procedural votes away from authoritarian Tea-Publicans completing their crime against democracy, the theft of a Supreme Court seat…”

    A “crime against democracy”, huh? I hope you have someone there with you to help calm you during this period of hysteria you are experiencing. If you are truly interested in democracy, then the “crime” was ever requiring more than a simple majority. After all, requiring a “super majority” of 60 votes is somewhat anti-democratice because it requires so many votes, when democracy would only require 51.

    Personally, I am glad the stupid reuirement is gone. It was always ridiculous to require 60 votes when 51 would do.

    “Justice Gorsuch will forever be tainted by the illegitimacy of how he ascended to the high court.”

    Really? That sounds more like wishful thinking than reality. Justice Gorsuch will be no different than any other member of SCOTUS and this distinction you speak of will exist only in your mind.

  2. So now the Republicans have achieved another Great Leap Forward in killing American Democracy and instituting a modern feudal system where they and only they are the nobility. (Cue Steve to chime in with one of his “Wow” comments in 3…2…1…).

    • “So now the Republicans have achieved another Great Leap Forward in killing American Democracy and instituting a modern feudal system where they and only they are the nobility.”

      Since you indicated you hoped I would comment…the only problem with your “modern fuedal system” idea is that pesky thing about voting them out of office, thus disproving that there has been any “killing” of American Democracy.

      It is rather comical watching you libs go to pieces over this “nuclear option”. It reminds me of the “Henny Penny” story of our youth. You know the one, where the brainless chicken has a acorn fall on her head and runs around declaring the sky is falling? That’s you guys. Especially with dumb comments like it is the death of American democracy.

      • Nice take down Steve, I’m impressed! Now if you would refute the actual point instead of proclaiming “voting them out of office” as a counter-argument and smug (though irrelevant) Henny Penny reference. If you want to see brainless, look no further than your Glorious Leader occupying the White House.

        Are you really that naive to believe the United States is an actual Democracy anymore? Perhaps it is if your values are business over people, one dollar one vote, unlimited dark money in elections, lack of governmental transparency; and unbridled capitalism which has resulted in concentrating the nation’s wealth in as few hands as possible. All of which are destroying our Democracy. Ultimately going to result in the feudal society you refuse to see.

        • The truth is, WileyBud, despite all my smug references and sometimes snide remarks, I am too optimistic about the future of our Country to feel concernabout the state of our democracy. It seems to work just fine. I would like to see more people voting, but that is a small complaint. We have always had periods when one group or another felt it was the end, yet we emerge wiser and better. I would just encourage you to try and be more optimistic and not allow the negativity of a few to get you down.

          • How can you feel optimistic about the future of our country and not be concerned about the state of our democracy? The two go hand in hand!

            The negativity of a few, particularly the negativity of right wing politicians and their policies does not get me down. In all situations I believe in assuming the worst and hoping for the best.

  3. Good riddance to any aspect of the filibuster, IMO. It is a deeply undemocratic tradition in a deeply undemocratic body. I certainly deplore the theft of Obama’s last SC appointment, and we must make the GOP pay dearly for that bit of gamesmanship. Perhaps when we retake the Senate we refuse to confirm any further Trump SC nominees, should another vacancy occur.

  4. filibuster is gone and when democrats get the demographics to work for them it will be payback. gorsuch can always be impeached off the supreme court if democrats will do it. no more filibusters for anything. good riddance. do democrats plan to strike back like republicans always said they would do? oh I forgot democrats are good government liberals so saying shame shame will be about it!

  5. It sucks, no doubt about it. They are the party that has not only obstructed as a means of control, they succeeded in it. But let’s be clear the filibuster was dead for over a decade. Back in 2005 when Roberts and Alito came up for votes the Democrats wanted to filibuster, the Republicans like now threatened to up get rid of it. In the end the deal which was negotiated by a bipartisan group agreed to preserve the filibuster for Supreme Court judges so long as Democrats didn’t use it on any but really egregious nominees. Essentially this was a deal that abandoned the filibuster as it was clear Rrpublicans wouldn’t put someone up who wasn’t qualified, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t put someone up who wasn’t extreme. The upshot was that if Dems used the filibuster Republicans would nuke it. Essentially no filibuster. The power always rests with the group who has the least to lose. Republicans have never cared about governing or about norms of behavior. They only care about winning for their religious extremist and corporate masters.

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