This morning (April 6, 2017), Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch failed to receive enough votes in the Senate to be approved. As per longstanding Senate rules, Supreme Court nominees must receive at least 60 votes to be confirmed. Gorsuch only received 55 votes thus rejecting his appointment. But Senate Republicans didn’t let that stop them from placing Trump’s pick of the litter into one of the most powerful positions in the United States.
In order to get past the planned Democratic filibuster planned, Republicans decided to go with the “nuclear option” of changing the rulebook in order to allow Supreme Court nominees to be approved by a simple majority of 51 votes. Considering there are 54 Republicans in the Senate willing to submit to Trump’s every command, this basically means Gorsuch will be confirmed at the next vote.
As confirming appointed officials is one of the Senate’s most important responsibilities, this rule change is a big deal. It’s safe to say that many took to Twitter to express their dismay about this change using the hashtag #NuclearOption.
If you have to change the rules and lower the bar to get a SCOTUS nominee confirmed…
He probably is a "so-called" Judge.#NuclearOption
— Tony Posnanski 🎧 (@tonyposnanski) April 6, 2017
— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) April 6, 2017
My GOP colleagues high fived each other after voting to damage pillars of our democracy. This is no cause for celebration. #NuclearOption
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) April 6, 2017
Quite frankly, this rule change is an abuse of power.
As a country that prides itself on prioritizing democracy, it’s disheartening to see some of our top legislators manipulate the rulebook in order to get what they want. We, as U.S. citizens, depend on these lawmakers to make the best decisions for our country, uphold our Republic and Constitution, and represent us in governmental affairs, yet here they are willing to throw away 200-year-old rules created to protect our nation all to please our new president. How are we supposed to believe they have our best interests at heart if they can’t even play by the same rules that have been intact for centuries? What other rules are Senate Republicans willing to change to get their way?
Senate Republicans need to take a step back and reevaluate what their actions truly mean for our country. What we can do, though, is keep the 2018 midterm election in mind. There are ten Senate seats up for grabs (nine Democrats, one Republican) in the following states: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. If you live in one of those states, make sure to educate yourself on the candidates and make sure to vote for someone who is dedicated to upholding the ideals of democracy, ready to tackle injustices in and out of the Senate, and not willing to just change the rules to get what they want.