With the filibuster done, Republicans abandoned long-held practices and lifted President Trump’s nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, with a simple majority vote.
Say goodbye to the filibuster with regards to the Supreme Court pick, a lifetime appointment, by the way. And, don’t be surprised if the “nuclear option” comes into play on all legislation moving forward. That way, the Republicans will be able to get anything they want passed with a simple majority.
Believe it or not, this is the way the Senate was originally intended to operate. In the early days the simple Majority ruled, but the rules were changed by mistake one day.
In 1805, Vice President Aaron Burr, fresh off of killing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in a duel, decided to get rid of rules in the Senate that he thought were useless. And one such “useless” rule that was eliminated was the Previous Question rule that simply allowed the majority of senators to move on to the next topic if the previous topic seemed to be going nowhere.
Seems pretty innocuous, right?
Well.. no.. in fact, once they eliminated that rule, they suddenly realized that they no longer had the power to stop a Senator from speaking at the podium forever, and thus, the Filibuster was born! And it’s been used to stop such legislation as Anti-Lynching laws and the Civil Rights act and more recently it was used by the minority Republicans to shut our government down when things weren’t going their way. Which doesn’t seem very democratic right? Isn’t a democracy supposed to be “majority” rules?
So, even though this “Nuclear Option” sounds like a horrible thing, it actually takes us back to the way the Senate is supposed to operate.
What interesting, though, is that, if the Republicans don’t keep their majority position in the Senate come 2018, they won’t be able to shut the government down with their filibusters anymore. So this “nuclear option” may come back to sting them in the not to distant future.