Sunday, April 9, 2017

Senate Goes Nuclear To Confirm Gorsuch

Last week Senate Republicans voted on a rules change that allowed for Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed to the Supreme Court (please view article for detailed context). While this is not the first time the Senate rules have been changed, Democrats did so in 2009 to confirm President Obama's cabinet secretaries, this decision by Republicans ends the need for the majority to negotiate with the minority party in order to appoint anyone to a position in the government. In my opinion this is a short minded decision by the Republicans that they will later regret and it also shows an inability to think beyond the time that they are in control. This event is very similar to how the Democrats changed rules in 2009 to confirm Obama's appointments which I also believe was short minded and they later regretted this year when they were unable to block any of Trump's nominees even the ones which were obviously unqualified, ei. Betsy DeVos. What do you think about this issue? Should the majority party have to cooperate with the minority? Will Senate Republicans regret this decision?

Just to be clear, I do not think that this rule change was nor would have ever been a good decision in 2009 or 2017.


  1. Honestly, having a majority vote change doesn't sound too bad. Although on this topic I am uninformed. Too me, a majority of 60 compared to a 52 person majority doesn't sound like too big of a difference. I can see why it is bad though. If the difference was one and the majority won, that would be pretty bad, because that would basically mean that 49% would disagree with the choice. I think that there will be situations where they will disagree with this eventually, but until those situations come up, they won't regret this decision.

  2. I do not think this will hurt the Republicans, as both parties can now confirm their justice appointees easier. It is likely that even if the Republicans didn't use the nuclear option, the Democrats would eventually have used it to confirm a liberal judge. In these days of strong partisanship, it is probably necessary to lower the confirmation standard for judges, otherwise it would be very difficult to get confirmations. On the down side, it will lead to more political radicalism, because parties no longer feel a need to appoint a candidate who has moderate beliefs.

  3. I think it's extremely important that the majority and the minority work together. I understand Harrison's point about the need to lower the confirmation standard for judges in times of strong partisanship, but like you said, I think they need to look ahead instead of making "short minded decisions" as you mentioned. A simple majority may make things "easier" but it rids Senate of any chance at being bipartisan, which, though it seems a little idealistic at this point, is how it should operate if it truly wants to benefit the United States. Sure, a simple majority may seem "fair," but it isn't always truly representative of the "true" majority (as seen in the previous election). Therefore, I think it's necessary that they keep the rule involving 60 votes, as this would be closer to what I'd consider a true majority.

  4. As I understand it, the purpose of a vote to sixty is to protect from the "tyranny of the majority" and prevent either party in power(with the majority) from choosing extreme candidates or making extremely partisan decisions. While a pure majority might make more sense on paper, I think that this system helps foster a sense of mutual cooperation that our government needs more of. I think that both the democrats and the republicans were being very short-sighted in their use of the "nuclear option." I don't feel that giving more power to the congressional majority is really in the long term interest of either of the parties or the nation as a whole; this may be cynical, but I believe that a more powerful majority results in the minority being more inclined towards staunch resistance than cooperation.

  5. Although I see where Harrison and Kevin are coming from, I agree with Cameron and Kamille that striking the filibuster hurts rather than helps the situation. Short-term, as you and the article said, bolsters a temporary solution, but discourages bipartisan cooperation, and as Kamille mentioned, that is not what we want our government doing at a "hyper partisan" time like this. As the Democrats grew to regret their decision, I think the Republicans will come to that conclusion as well.

    1. I agree with you Juliet, the modern political parties are insanely hypocritical, all both sides want is power and they both have an inability to see beyond a time when they don't have power. This kind of short term thinking is not only bad for our government and power structure but it is dangerous for our society.

  6. I agree with those points above that the current system of partisanship has led politicians to prioritize their power over the interests of the people. Government was put in place to work towards the interests of the whole population, so when a majority party simply refuses to cooperate with the minority party, many people's voices will be unheard. Regardless of the fact that this is the literal majority, the minority includes a significant enough amount of people that they should be compromised with. Since parties work for power rather than solutions, naturally the decisions they make will be short-sighted, because they simply don't care about the long-term anymore.