April 7, 2017

Whitehouse Statement on Republicans’ Use of ‘Nuclear Option’

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on Senate Republicans’ decision to change longstanding Senate rules to pave the way for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch: 

“The President set the Senate on this unfortunate path when he selected a Supreme Court nominee off a list put together by conservative special-interest front groups, instead of a bipartisan nominee in line with the beliefs of most Americans.  There’s no reason why President Trump couldn’t put forth a traditional consensus nominee who could get 60 votes, as President Obama attempted to do in nominating Merrick Garland.  But Republicans are so eager to reconstitute the five-vote bloc on the Court that consistently delivered for big business and conservatives, that they changed Senate rules today to force Judge Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court.  I hope this will not damage too severely the bipartisan spirit of cooperation that has long been the trademark of the Senate, and that Judge Gorsuch proves to be a truly independent Justice.”

The rules change, known as the “nuclear option,” reduces from 60 to a majority the number of votes needed for the Senate to end debate on a Supreme Court nominee and proceed to a final vote.


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