The move, still in its early stages, reflects growing GOP confidence in its electoral prospects next year. But it could also have a major immediate impact if a justice such as 81-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg steps down, making it far easier for President Barack Obama to get a replacement confirmed.
The proposed change would expand on the dramatic move Democrats made in 2013, when they killed the 60-vote hurdle for executive branch nominations and almost all judicial nominees. Republicans have complained bitterly about the Democrats’ action ever since, saying it violated the Senate’s tradition of being a deliberative body where the minority holds big sway. But now, GOP supporters contend, it may be time to bring majority rule to votes on Supreme Court nominations, too.