Will Senate Republicans resort to the 'nuclear option' for SCOTUS nominee?

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - You may have heard the term “nuclear option” recently. It’s been used by multiple lawmakers and even President Donald Trump to describe a rule-change option on the table for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., which would lower the threshold to break a filibuster from 60 votes to 51.

“Removing that 60-vote threshold and removing the ability of the minority party to filibuster sort of takes away those minority rights. It makes the Senate become a majoritarian institution, which is more like the House,” said Rachel Bovard, a director of policy for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

The nuclear option has already been used.

In 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he had no choice but to change the rules, since Senate Republicans were blocking all of then-President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. When he changed the rules, he did so for all judicial nominees except the Supreme Court.

“It’s time to change the Senate before this institution becomes obsolete,” said Reid, defending his decision back in 2013.

The decision to go nuclear brought backlash from Republicans, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“It puts a chill on the entire United States Senate,” McCain said.

Some political analysts say it would have a huge impact on how government operates in the United States.

“If Sen. Mitch McConnell gets rid of the legislative filibuster for nominees, the legislative filibuster is probably next,” Bovard said, adding it could strip even more power on all lawmakers in the minority.

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