‘Political Insiders’ split over using ‘nuclear option’ to confirm Gorsuch

The showdown over Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court should come to a head this week.

Democrats in Congress are trying to block Gorsuch through a filibuster. Republicans need 60 votes to break the filibuster, but they only have 52 seats. That means they need to flip 8 Democratic votes.

Republicans could also change the rules to require a simple majority instead of 60 votes, which has been dubbed the “nuclear option.”

Not surprisingly, The Republicans on “Political Insider” panel favor this course of action while Democrats are opposed.

– 67% of the Republicans who responded to our question favored using the nuclear option.
– 100% of the Democrats were opposed to the rule change.


Democrats are likely still upset over Senate Republicans refusing to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to fill the seat vacated when Antonin Scalia died suddenly last February.

Republicans point out former Senator Harry Reid used the “nuclear option” in 2013 when Democrats moved to end Republican obstructionism over President Obama’s judicial nominations. However, his maneuver was for appointments below the Supreme Court.

Since 1987, just three Supreme Court nominees failed to make it to the high court:

– Robert Bork
– Harriet Miers
– Merrick Garland

Selected anonymous comments:

If he can’t get confirmed then no one will be able to… The Democrats must be crazy – are they just looking for a scalp for Garland?

The GOP shouldn’t, but the culture in DC is toxic, and it will happen.

Republicans should do whatever they have to complete the process.

The system is all we have, and it’s greater than any single person. To sabotage the system on behalf of one man seems silly. The Senate of all people should know this.

This country needs to get back to solving the serious problems we face now and in the future. We need leaders who are concerned about solving those problems not scoring points for their team. The Senate would do well to say OK we screwed up in the way we handled Judge Garland’s nomination. Let’s not overreact now to Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. Let them vote and take what comes. Then move on.

The Dem’s are going to play hardball just as the Republicans played hardball last year in not even convening hearings for Pres. Obama’s supreme court justice nominee. So, this is the only option left to get Gorsuch approved.

Most importantly, the Senate should remain a body of civility. At a time of extreme partisanship, particularly in the House, the Senate usually provides the “adult in the room” perspective lacking the other legislative chamber. Opting for the nuclear option on Supreme Court nominees would be another step towards making the Senate a six-year House.

Opposing Gorsuch has no basis in any logic, only revenge.

The whole thing needs to be put on hold pending the investigation into the 2016 elections. Whether he is a good candidate or not is irrelevant if Trump never had the right to nominate him in the first place.

There is no candidate that Democrats would approve that is not a flaming liberal who believes the Constitution is a living document and subject to reinterpretation as they believe.

The Republicans need to take the high-road and not change the rules. They took the low-road on Garland. Decency and fairness are in very small supply in Washington. According to Webster, fairness is: “marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.” I won’t attempt to define “decency,” because I don’t want anyone who reads this to walk in front of a bus.

Changing the rules will come back to haunt the GOP in the future when Dems control both houses.

With 45 under multiple investigations and the GOP’s refusal to even hold hearings for Obama’s nominee if they force the “nuclear option,” they will be guaranteed defeat in mid-term elections.

This was never their seat to take, to begin with. They should have to find someone the Democrats agree with as well. As Neil Gorsuch himself said, the Supreme Court should not be partisan.

I share the outrage over what happened to Garland. The best option for Dems now might be to play nice and just delay in the hopes that scandal overtakes the administration in the meantime. Not likely to happen but it is time for someone to take the high road.

It will come to haunt them. They will not be in power forever.

Republicans say that the Democrats should not use ‘politics’ to oppose Mr. Gorsuch. That’s an amazing turnaround, given their treatment of Pres. Obama’s nominee – who was just as qualified as Mr. Gorsuch. I believe that the Republicans should just go for a straight up or down vote.

The Republicans should break the filibuster with the nuclear option, but only if the Democrats successfully pull the filibuster off. Far better would be for the Democrats to choose to allow Gorsuch to proceed, even if they filibuster for show purposes.

They should have given Merrick Garland a hearing, but they (unethically) did not. Therefore, Gorsuch is an illegitimate appointment. The Democrats are right to obstruct as much as they can.

Absolutely! The Supreme Court is the most important issue on the table. A qualified justice such as Neil Gorsuch should not be blocked for political reasons.

The pendulum swings both ways. The current super majority is a reasoned safety net that should remain in place. When the Dems are in power again, they could approve an extreme liberal with a simple majority if the nuclear option is invoked.

If necessary — ABSOLUTELY. If they don’t, the Dems in the Senate will block every nominee the President puts up.

Much as I like the filibuster, it is doomed. Since the Democrats will scrap it the next time they need to push thru a confirmation, the Republican might as well use it here. Perhaps they won’t need to, and they should try to break a filibuster a couple of times, but if they need to change the rules, they should do so.

The filibuster rules in the Senate have been one of the tools of legislative gridlock for a decade. I think it is time to review the rule whether Gorsuch is confirmed or not.

The ideal would be to maintain the filibuster as an option that is infrequently used, but that is not the world we live in. Neil Gorsuch is no more outside the mainstream than were Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan. The Republicans not only allowed a vote for them but contributed to their being confirmed. The Democrats have politicized the Court to the point that there will be no future Supreme Court justices from Republican presidents if the filibuster is allowed to remain.

Democrats already invoked the nuclear option for other judges. Turnabout is fair play. If they are going to filibuster a judge as qualified and competent as Gorsuch, then it’s time to unleash the nuclear weapon and get him confirmed. We need a 9-member Supreme Court.

Why not use the nuclear option? The Democrats used it to stack the courts under Obama. What’s that old saying about “turn about”?

Using the “nuclear option” would be over the top considering the Senate Republicans wouldn’t even give Obama’s nominee a hearing.

Elections have consequences…

If the Dems are foolish enough to try to block such a qualified jurist at this point, the GOP should use Hary Reid’s rules.

If any judge should deserve a quick and fair vote, it is this one. He has promoted that for others including judges Pres Obama picked.

The system is more important than confirming what seems to be an excellent right-of-center choice. Ideally, though probably not realistic, if Republicans can’t get to 60, it would be good to call it even by not confirming Gorsuch as a quid pro quo for Garland and then resetting back to the more deferential stance that led to Bush appointing conservative judges in Alito and Roberts and Obama in progressive judges in Kagan and Sotomayor.