The Nuclear Option
It’s gotten way past fun and games and par-for-the-course politics. Blatant abuse of the filibuster rule by Senate Republicans is forcing Harry Reid’s hand.
As expected, Senate Democrats brought Cornelia Pillard’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit to the floor late yesterday. As expected, Pillard, an obviously qualified nominee with excellent credentials, enjoyed majority support. And as expected, the Senate Republican minority refused to allow the Senate to vote on her nomination, not because the GOP found something wrong with her, but because Republicans intend to block all D.C. Circuit nominees until their party wins another presidential election.
Senate Republicans seem to believe the “nuclear option,” which would eliminate filibusters on judicial nominees altogether, is unlikely. Those assumptions may well be mistaken.
Speaking after the vote on Tuesday, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he believed it had come to the point when Senate filibuster rules must be changed because Republicans were holding the president’s nominees to such “a blatant double standard.”
Slamming his fist on a lectern, he shouted, “Their credibility is shredded!”
Leahy, the Senate Pro Tem, added, “I think we’re at a point where there will have to be a rules change.”
As Benen points out, there is no attempt on the part of Republicans to claim that the nominees are unqualified and therefore holding back the vote is warranted. They’re openly and proudly blocking all nominees to the appeals court bench because they lost the 2012 election. That’s it. Until they’re able to get their own people into the judicial system by way of putting a Republican into the White House, then no one gets in.
Enough already. It’s time to release the nuke.