Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) made huge announcements Wednesday on the Senate floor that they will not sit by and allow a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
The senators announced that they will vote to invoke the constitutional option used previously by former Sen. Harry Reid to push through a number of former President Barack Obama’s lower court nominees — often dubbed the “nuclear option.”
This move would tank the ability of the Democrats to filibuster the nomination and thus allow a simple-majority to confirm Supreme Court nominees.
With these announcements and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell (R-KY) noting earlier Wednesday that he had the 50 votes required to trigger the constitutional option in order to confirm Gorsuch — as well as Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie should it be necessary — the likelihood of this happening just went up quite a bit.
With his towering stature in the party, both in seniority and later as the 2008 presidential nominee, McCain was seen by some as the de facto chairman of the Gang of 14 effort in 2005 to save the option of filibustering judicial nominees in the future — but allowing through many of President George W. Bush’s nominees that were then being blocked by a Democratic filibuster. Ironically, that strategy’s architect was none other than Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who implemented it in 2003 […]
For her part, Murkowski has long supported the Gang of 14, even though she had not been part of it in 2005, so she was another senator to watch in this unfolding historic drama.
“The unprecedented nature of the Democrats’ filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee has left me in a difficult position,” McCain said.
“I’m left with no choice,” he continued. “I will vote to change the rules to allow Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority.”
McCain went on to use the infamous phrase uttered by Obama years ago: “Elections have consequences.”
Murkowski made her announcement shortly before McCain: “I will not acquiesce to an effort to deny Judge Gorsuch a seat on the Supreme Court.”
“I am left with the undeniable impression that Neil Gorsuch has been nominated to a position that he prepared his whole life to assume,” Murkowski added. “He is not merely a good choice in my book, he’s the best choice… perhaps a justice of historic proportions.”
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