Boom! Senate passes filibuster reform, GOP can no longer block executive, judicial nominees

The US Senate, at the request of Democratic Leader Harry Reid, just went nuclear and passed the so-called “nuclear option,” which makes executive branch and judicial nominees (lower than Supreme Court) no longer subject to filibuster.

In other words, those nominees will only need a 51 vote majority, rather than 60 votes to break a filibuster in the 100-person Senate.

The changes passed 52-48. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, and Carl Levin of Michigan voted against.

The reform came about because Republicans have been, among other things, filibustering the President’s nominees to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, putatively the second most important court in the land, simply because Republicans don’t think the court needs its full compliment of judges.

GOP Senators have no problems per se with the nominees themselves.

And he didn't.

And he didn’t.

Republicans have taken to calling the President’s attempts to fill the empty slots on the DC Circuit “court packing,” which it decidedly is not when you simply nominate people to fill vacant slots that have existed for years.

Here’s a sobering fact from Senator Reid:

The need for change is obvious. In the history of the Republic, there have been 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominations. Half of them have occurred during the Obama Administration – during the last four and a half years. These nominees deserve at least an up-or-down vote. But Republican filibusters deny them a fair vote and deny the President his team.

Here’s a great chart from Brookings showing how GOP-inspired filibusters exploded under Obama, far more than the number of Democratic-inspired filibusters under Bush:

Credit: Brookings

Credit: Brookings

In addition, Senate Reid tweeted out this delicious Vine of Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell demanding up-or-down votes for presidential nominees not so long ago:

This is a big deal.  Though, as some are already noting, it simply gets us back to where things used to be, where filibusters were only used in extreme circumstances, and not to block nearly every appointee in an attempt to bring down a presidency.

More from Harry Reid’s statement, explaining the degree to which the GOP has abused the filibuster:

There are currently 75 executive branch nominees ready to be confirmed by the Senate that have been waiting an average of 140 days for confirmation. One executive nominee to the agency that safeguards the water our children and grandchildren drink and the air they breathe has waited more than 800 days for confirmation.

We agreed in July that the Senate should be confirming nominees to ensure the proper functioning of government. But consistent and unprecedented obstruction by the Republican Caucus has turned “advise and consent” into “deny and obstruct.”

In addition to filibustering a nominee for Secretary of Defense for the first time in history, Senate Republicans also blocked a sitting member of Congress from an Administration position for the first time since 1843. As a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, Congressman Mel Watt’s understanding of the mistakes that led to the housing crisis made him uniquely qualified to serve as administrator of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Senate Republicans simply don’t like the consumer protections Congressman Watt was nominated to develop and implement.  So they denied a fellow member of Congress and a graduate of Yale Law School even the courtesy of an up-or-down vote.

In the last three weeks alone, Republicans have blocked up-or-down votes on three highly qualified nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered by many to be the second highest court in the land. Republicans have blocked four of President Obama’s five nominees to the D.C. Circuit, whereas Democrats approved four of President Bush’s six nominees to this important court. Today, 25 percent of the D.C. Circuit Court is vacant. There isn’t a single legitimate objection to the qualifications of any of these nominees. Yet Republicans refused to give them an up-or-down vote – a simple yes-or-no vote. Republicans simply don’t want President Obama to make any appointments at all to this vital court.

Further, only 23 district court nominees have been filibustered in the entire history of this country.  Twenty of them were nominated by President Obama. With one out of every 10 federal judgeships vacant, millions of Americans who rely on courts that are overworked and understaffed are being denied the justice they rightly deserve. More than half the nation’s population lives in a part of the country that’s been declared a “judicial emergency.”

(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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77 Responses to “Boom! Senate passes filibuster reform, GOP can no longer block executive, judicial nominees”

  1. Trish Dish says:

    trying to find the roll call of who voted against and who voted for the filibuster reform cannot find it anywhere help anyone?

  2. mtminer says:

    How is ending gerrymandering going to effect the Senate? How do you gerrymander senators? Gerrymandering can only be done to congressional districts.

  3. Ford Prefect says:

    I don’t see how that’s relevant. Did the Democrats not know how the Republicans were going to behave? Of course they did. Did they understand it in 2010? Of course they did. 2011 and 2012? Yep.

    Did they understand the GOP would use the filibuster rule the Dems deliberately gave them to put the kibosh on Democratic agenda items as stated in the 2006 and 2008 elections? Yep. That’s why they gave it to them.

  4. BillFromDover says:

    True, but how many district and appellate court judges were filibustered by that time?

  5. BillFromDover says:

    “The Nuclear Option”?

    I believe that when their side was bellyaching, the republican wordsmith, Frank Luntz, coined this term the Constitutional Option?

    How soon we forget!

  6. BillFromDover says:

    “The shoe will hurt when it’s on the other foot.”

    Well…duh! Progressives know the difference between a left and right shoe.

    Where is you side coming from?

  7. Naja pallida says:

    Yeah, that’s why Obama has had almost as many of his nominees filibustered as all other Presidents combined. That’s why in general there have been twice as many filibusters in the Senate as the worst administration previous… and he’s not even done serving out his term yet. The “nuclear option” was a Republican idea. They’re just mad that they weren’t the ones with the balls to actually do it.

  8. camelriders says:

    You are delusional. Democrats were blocking lots of Bush’s appointments, that’s where they got the idea to do it to Obozo!

  9. Ford Prefect says:

    While there is some merit in what you’re saying, in terms of optics it looks really bad to people who don’t care about Inside Baseball. Yes there are things Dems don’t want to see pass the Senate: anything relating to inequality, climate change, our declining standard of living or anything else that would benefit the vast majority of Americans at the minor expense of ruling elites.

    Mary Landrieu, Joe Manchin and Carl Levin (to name but a few) have all benefitted back home from giving the GOP an undemocratic “veto” on good legislation. The Dems wrote the rule that allowed for swift defeat of card check, eliminating oil industry subsidies, raising the minimum wage and so on. The Dems have Majority and as such they can defeat anything they want on that basis. Preserving the GOP stranglehold is just a fig leaf for duplicity.

    Senate Dems like Al Franken just voted to cut food stamps while increasing corporate subsidies in the Ag bill. The filibuster is the fig leaf that makes that possible in terms of generating the excuses for justifying it: Buy-partisanship.

    “We couldn’t get the bill passed without GOP votes because filibuster, so this is the best we could do.” It’s bullshit, of course. They could have eliminated the filibuster in 2009 and refused to do so precisely because they needed the cover to enact reactionary legislation and still be re-elected.

    In the end, that’s where the rubber meets the road, since that’s how bad legislation moves forward. It’s time for the veil to be lifted, so we can better hold people accountable for their craven misbehaviors.

  10. fastfood says:

    Your whimsy is incredulous.

  11. fastfood says:

    “blocked a sitting member of Congress from an Administration position for the first time since 1843.”

    Does that mean that it should never happen?

    “Republicans have blocked up-or-down votes on three highly qualified nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered by many to be the second highest court in the land.”

    Like “nominees to the D.C. Circuit” have never been blocked, vettet or held up. Or like this was against the law. Look who’s whining; probably the most obstuctionist Senate leader, even ahead of Polosi. Look who’s calling the kettel black.

    “Democrats approved four of President Bush’s six nominees”

    Would these “Democrats” not have approved them if they did not beleive the nominees were right for they job?

    Why don’t we just do away with the House. Or perhaps do away with all political parties and let Obama destroy the US as he see’s fit. Or better yet, just do away the parties and all the courts, the Constitution, the laws and make Obama king and suppreme leader for life or in perpetuity. Hell, he wants to do what he wants, to whome ever he wants when ever he wants even when it means destroying anyone who happens to disagree with him.

  12. lynchie says:

    Maybe if the dems got their shit together and spoke to the american people but proposed changes like a higher minimum wage and make the republicans vote no against popular measures. The dems have given the repubs cover on so many issues because Reid said they didn’t have the votes. Be a good way to get rid of all the blue dogs who have screwed us it voting down progressive policies.

  13. lynchie says:

    Every damn time there is an issue. Benghazi, Obamacare, gun control, etc., etc.

  14. Ninong says:

    Maybe the Democratic leadership had other reasons for not extending the nuclear option to all legislation? Maybe there are certain things some of them would prefer to never have come up for a straight up or down, simply majority vote?

    There are half a dozen Democratic senators from oil states who NEVER vote against the oil companies on anything. That’s why it’s virtually impossible to remove all the perks that allow the big oil companies to get away with paying virtually no tax at all. Thing is there are probably more than half a dozen Republican senators who would be willing to remove those oil company perks if the legislation ever came up for a vote. It can’t get past the 60-vote cloture requirement. There are lots of issues Harry Reid doesn’t want to vote on one way or the other. Might be bad for his reelection chances back home.

    All the stink Mary Landrieu is raising right now about the Affordable Care Act is solely because she’s in another one of her reelection battles. As far as Joe Manchin, he’s a DINO. The big banks, big oil companies and big pharma virtually own the United States Senate regardless of which party the senator belongs to. Even the Democrats benefit from their largess, especially when they’re in the majority.

  15. Ninong says:

    Yes, I believe you’re correct. Any Executive Branch nominee, other than for SCOTUS, will require only 51 votes in the Senate. Even if the Democrats lose five votes, they could still get by with 50 plus the VP.

  16. Ninong says:

    They sound ridiculous claiming that the DC Circuit doesn’t need those three vacancies filled when Republican John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States, publicly stated that they do need those vacancies filled, as well as all of the other federal court vacancies that have been blocked.

  17. benb says:

    The Republicans in the Senate must be relieved because now they can vote against candidates they actually support and not have to take the heat from Heritage, the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc…

  18. Barryeod says:

    Half of all filibusters of executive-branch nominees have occurred under President Obama.

  19. Barryeod says:

    This won’t matter. Ending gerrymandering might loosen the chokehold.

  20. IDSprout says:

    America loses again…this will certainly be used like a ping pong match between the parties with the extremes getting worse each election cycle.

  21. The_Fixer says:

    Yes, that’s exactly correct.

  22. Mighty says:

    Should have been done years ago. Oh and yes the GOP will make everyone pay for this outrage. Why they may even win an election and actually expect people to allow them to appoint people to positions. I know shock on how that works. When they win everyone should shut up and do as they want because the American people voted them in office. When democrats win its you have to be conciliatory and do what republicans want to show bipartisanship.

  23. perljammer says:

    Well… The case before the court was a constitutional challenge of the individual mandate, not about the mechanics of how the legislation was originated. Doubtful whether anyone in the House would have standing to challenge the law on that basis.

  24. fastfood says:

    I hope both chambers win a super majority.

  25. fastfood says:

    “Obamacare legislation, which started in the Senate but imposes what was later determined by the Supreme Court to be a tax (the individual mandate penalty).”
    Thanks to Roberts and a House that hasn’t got the stones to stand up for it’s self.

  26. fastfood says:

    “As usual, the Republicans will win the media round”
    As usual?
    Just how often have you seen that?

  27. fastfood says:

    “this is for the best for the short term.”
    Sounds like you want it out only when you would benefit.

  28. fastfood says:

    GOPer’s aren’t the only one’s who have used the filibuster for “partisan” causes. Lib’s will better understand that when they experience the other edge of this sword. And some of these nominee’s were rammed into place as so-called “recess appointments” when the congress wasn’t actually in recess. The shoe will hurt when it’s on the other foot.

  29. pappyvet says:

    The hour grew very late when they finally decided that there was not going to be any cooperation from the right. It amazes me how many times Lucy was able to pull that football away before Charlie Brown finally got it.

  30. Naja pallida says:

    Not really sure there’s a downside. The Republicans have never had any problem getting judicial appointments, and over the last 15 years or more has succeeded in stacking every federal court with a whole host of right-wing ideologues. Half the Democrats are colluders and the other half are cowards. They don’t obstruct like Republicans do. Then, when Republicans don’t have activist judges who are in their employ, they have twisted the prosecutorial offices across the country. We still need to root out the depths of the corruption that George W. Bush’s Department of Justice brought to the country – and Eric Holder has been utterly incompetent at addressing the problem. Things can’t really get much worse, even if Republicans turned it around when they held the Presidency, and used it to appoint their own crazy people. Things are unfair and unjust at just about every level, to the point that even calling it a justice system is a farce. We see a few favorable rulings, like on gay marriage, and tend to get an overly optimistic view of how things really are.

  31. cole3244 says:

    this should have been done much sooner and i am surprised reid had the guts to do it.

  32. perljammer says:

    Just a point of clarification. The requirement for 60 votes is for cloture, not filibuster. Prior to 1917, there was no means to end a filibuster. In that year, a rule was established that a 2/3 majority vote of “all senators present and voting” would invoke cloture, ending debate. That became 3/5 in 1975; interestingly; the change was made by a Democratic-controlled Senate.

    One other historical note that is probably not widely appreciated here: although the total number of filibusters engaged in by Republicans since Obama’s election is far higher than the historical average, the numbers in cases of judicial confirmations are not what you might expect. For President Bill Clinton, appellate judges were confirmed on average in 238 days, a number that shot up to 355 for President George W. Bush and is currently 257 for Obama’s appointees.

  33. The_Fixer says:

    When I first saw the headline, I thought “hmmm, be careful what you wish for…” But, the devil is in the details. I am glad they didn’t extend it to legislative matters, in spite of the fact that it could be of benefit there.

    I still think it could come back to bite us in the ass at some point. But I really think this is for the best for the short term. It might serve as a warning of sorts to the Republicans.

    Now it’s time for them to get to work and approve these appointments. There’s far too much government business that needs to be done.

  34. AnitaMann says:

    There was a very brief window when there were 60 D votes. Remember Ted Kennedy died in 2009. Then there was the Brown election in MA in early 2010. Also, Byrd’s seat was vacant for a while when he died.

  35. Sure the GOP is unfairly blocking nominees but this is a mistake that will come back to haunt us in the future some time.

  36. perljammer says:

    I believe the Democratic party held a supermajority in the Senate when the ACA was passed, so a Republican filibuster wasn’t much of a threat.

    And it’s only legislation imposing taxes that has to start in the House. Other types of legislation can originate in either the House or Senate. This, by the way, is one of the minor gripes about the Obamacare legislation, which started in the Senate but imposes what was later determined by the Supreme Court to be a tax (the individual mandate penalty).

  37. BeccaM says:

    I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing not, because the usual process was one GOP Senator imposes a hold — usually anonymously. Overcoming that hold required a cloture vote — and there’s the 60 vote threshold. In other words, the “one Senator hold” was contingent on the cloture-based filibuster being there to back it up.

    If I read this correctly, any presidential nominee, whether for the executive or judicial branch (except SCOTUS) can be brought up for a routine majority vote.

  38. AnitaMann says:

    That’s why I was so nonplussed that Reid and the D’s were so afraid of what the R’s would do if/when they gain control. Of course the R’s will do whatever they want Couldn’t they see the R’s are an absolute wrecking crew?

  39. AnitaMann says:

    Correct. But it doesn’t matter now that the house is in GOP hands. Bills have to start in the house, IIRC. But ending the fillibuster for everything would have mattered a lot in 2009 when the house had a big D majority and passed several semi-progressive bills. And might we have seen a better Obamacare?

  40. Ford Prefect says:

    But they just preserved the “obstructionism” ruse for legislation and Supremes, so there’s that!

  41. Ford Prefect says:

    Actually, there is a point to doing it, as it would change the balance of power in the Senate and it would seriously enable the Democratic ground game going into an election year: “We’re not going to take this anymore!”

    As it is now, the Senate Dems are telling their base, “We want some nominees to pass on a simple majority vote. We don’t want legislation or Supreme Court nominees to enjoy the same process.

    Once all the “Nuke” headlines have faded, voters are going to have a terribly hard time understanding what all the excitement was about. It will be a huge letdown and will likely undermine Democratic Party legitimacy even more. It makes them look two-faced, which they are, of course. As such, it’s pretty stupid politics.

    The large print giveth and the small print taketh away. That’s the message from today’s Senate Democrats and presumably the White House. They just made this election cycle even more difficult than it was yesterday.

  42. BeccaM says:

    I know — but as was noted, these talking filibusters and fauxlibusters have been nothing but political showboating. None of them do anything other than slow down the legislative process.

    Holds and cloture, on the other hand — that’s what’s been massively abused since the 90s.

  43. nicho says:

    I’m going to keep the cork in the champagne to see what wonders the Democrats perform now that they no longer have the “obstructionist GOP” excuse.

  44. MyrddinWilt says:

    Actually Rand Paul did one and got a lot of positive press for it despite the fact that he is a total loon because he was raising an issue that most people in politics are actually concerned about.

    The Ted Cruz fake filibuster was an attempt to garner some of the cred Rand Paul received. It didn’t come off as he thought it would because he didn’t understand that the circumstances were very different.

  45. MyrddinWilt says:

    The precedent has been set that the majority can change the rules mid session. So they can gut the legislative filibuster any time they want.

    No point doing that while the GOP has the house.

  46. MyrddinWilt says:

    I think that was the Republican’s objective in blocking the nominees from the start.

    They are fed up of the filibuster because it forces them to make a choice that has become politically expensive for them. They would much rather be able to tell their base that they made a principled stand but lost than that they collaborated with the President for the good of the country.

    The 60 vote filibuster was always a stupid idea.

    The only reason they are not stripping legislation right now is because there is no point when the GOP has the House. And there is no SCOTUS nomination likely either.

  47. Ford Prefect says:

    I’m not sure if the GOP would eliminate the filibuster, since they’d prefer to have when they’re in Minority. More importantly, the Dems don’t filibuster (they didn’t even once during the Bush years, did they?), so there’s no need to eliminate it, from their perspective.

    Chances are the Dems won’t eliminate it altogether because it gives them a fig leaf to use when they’re stabbing their own electorates in the back. With the filibuster, they can blame the GOP. Without it, they’d have to take responsibility for their behaviors. I think this is why they left it in place for Supremes nominations and legislation. They can use “bi-partisanship” and the “need to strike a deal” to justify their wholesale screwing of everyone that votes for them.

    The Dems want to pass Chained-CPI and more cuts to non-defense related programs. They also don’t want to do anything about climate change, inequality or anything else of import to most Americans. The filibuster helps them avoid accountability for their policy preferences.

  48. usagi says:

    My Facebook timeline was nothing but “this is proof both parties are hypocrites” comments this morning.

  49. Lantor says:

    Is there any doubt at all, now that this has passed, that if Republicans gain the Senate that they will strip the filibuster altogether? Dems have been so weak fisted with Repubs. I’m hoping this is furthering the tend of some sort of backbone.

  50. davids12 says:

    Chris, settle down – the majority of the nation continues to vote Democratic. That includes the House – more people cast votes for Democratic representatives than Republican.

  51. chris10858 says:

    I think this action is great and long overdue. However, I can tell you now exactly how it is going to go down in the media:

    Republicans will be all over the news screaming their lies about how Obama is a dictator and wants to take over the country, end democracy as we know it, blah, blah, blah.

    Meanwhile, Democrats and other progressive groups will trot out one or two wholly ineffective spokespeople to justify and explain properly why this action was needed.

    As usual, the Republicans will win the media round and come off as protectors of “freedom-loving Americans” everywhere. They lie better than the best used car salesmen and the Democrats can’t even go out and speak the truth in a simple manner that many Americans can understand.

  52. davids12 says:

    He didn’t do it because it’s a terrible thing to do. This is the last resort, but at this point it’s gotten absolutely crazy. We JUST had a huge filibuster foofooraw in July over the CFPB nominations, and then less than six months later they’re back at it again. No one WANTS to remove the filibuster, the Democrats obviously have used it in the past, but at a certain point you’re just letting a minority party run the government.

  53. Ford Prefect says:

    The Senate enacts new rules at the start of every new congress. The Dems have been Majority since January 2009. So they could have ended the filibuster starting then, since enacting new rules only requires a simple majority.

  54. Ford Prefect says:

    You read that right. Legislation and Supreme Court nominees are still “fair game” for filibuster, thanks to a very generous Senate Democratic caucus. They could have very well ended the filibuster outright, as has been their right as Majority since January 2009.

  55. malibujd44 says:

    This all could have been taken care of right after Obama took the oath for a second term but for some reason majority leader Senator Harry Asshole would not let it on the senate floor for a vote. I wonder what changed? I just can’t figure this dude out…is he for us or against us? Most of the time piece of shit minority leader McConnell seems to have more power and gets a hell of a lot more publicity for some reason. I would love to find out who is black mailing who to get this FINALLY passed.

  56. chris10858 says:

    If I read correctly, Republicans can still filibuster legislation. They just can’t filibuster actual people who have been nominated by the president for an executive or judicial position.

  57. Whitewitch says:

    Coffee passing through noise alert! Very funny last line! Excellent.

  58. MichaelS says:

    THANK YOU! What happened to that “hold” rule? Can one senator still hold up a judicial appointment?

  59. AnitaMann says:

    And not a minute too soon. Shame it couldn’t have happened in 09, so that Glass-Steagall and other votes that passed the D house then but were blocked in the Senate could go through.

  60. MichaelS says:

    PS — The Dems have only themselves to blame. Imagine if they had taken this step, with regard to legislation, way back when during the health care discussion… Anyone remember the Public Option?

  61. MichaelS says:

    NOW will Obama double up and appoint every empty federal judgeship in the country???!! Yes, the Repugs have obstructed every step of the way, but he has been notoriously slow and lazy about appointing those positions. We might have just one year left with a Dem Senate, so he’d better get off his butt. THIS IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ACA.

    Moreover, since everyone agrees that the Repugs are just going to kill the rest of the filibuster rule once they’re back in power, why are we even waiting to remove it entirely? I’m very afraid for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she may retire after 2016… with a Republican Senate.

  62. Dave of the Jungle says:


  63. BeccaM says:

    Mayhap, but that form of filibuster for the U.S. Senate hasn’t ever really been the case outside of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. True, there have been any number of ‘historic’ filibusters over the years, including some doozies that ran over 24 hours.

    Ever since the early 1900s, the ‘real’ filibuster has been cloture.

  64. Ford Prefect says:

    My understanding is the filibuster is left intact for legislation, per the Senate Democrats’ wishes. So, the GOP still has that in their quiver, thanks to the Dems.

  65. FLL says:

    Bravo! The worst of the present abuse was filibustering to keep federal judicial seats empty until the next Republican president gets a chance to fill them in 2016… or 2020… or 2024… or the 22nd century. Let’s review what Mitt Romney had to say during the Republican presidential debate of 2008:

    “I would have favored justices like Roberts and Alito, Scalia and Thomas. I like justices that follow the Constitution, do not make law from the bench.”

    Gentle reader, let me use my most courtly eighteenth-century English to answer my Republican critics: Romney lost, bitches.

  66. MyrddinWilt says:

    If I was Obama then I would have my staff on the phone right now calling up all the people who were nominated but withdrew their nomination due to not getting a Senate vote.

    The straw that broke the camels back might well have been the obnoxious mischief that happened on Monday when the Supreme Court refused to review the appeal against the Texas TRAP law.

    A party that loses at the ballot box can’t expect to rule from the bench instead. Unless a President is seated through fraud (as W. Bush was) Congress should confirm nominees that are not conspicuously corrupt (as Robert Bork was).

    But it is worth pointing out the Bork did get a full Senate vote. He was not kept of the court by a filibuster. He was rejected because he obeyed Nixon’s order to fire Archibald Cox.

  67. Drew2u says:

    I’m fine with the filibuster as long as it’s an actual talking/standing filibuster, like Wendy Davis. Let them stand in front of the public and argue their case.

  68. MyrddinWilt says:

    Wow, it takes them a long time to move but when they move, they move.

    I was in the middle of a post arguing that the filibuster was effectively dead as soon as the Republicans threatened the nuclear option. And that was likely their objective all along. This way they can pander to their tea party base without breaking the government. they can also up the rents they extract from industry and bilk more pensioners of their life savings with scare stories about the judges Obama has put on the bench.

    This is going to gut the power of the legislative filibuster as well which might in a round-about way mean the end of Obamacare. The thing the GOP really really hates about Obamacare is the name which they intended to be mocking but looks like it will stick. And it must really make those racist bastard’s skin crawl to have their lives saved by medical care they get from a scheme named after a black man.

    The only way the GOP can get rid of the name is to allow Hillarycare to replace it. And the only way to do that would be to allow a public option and let people opt in to Medicare instead of buying through the exchanges. Which is not a scheme that the GOP could ever have allowed to come to a vote. But they can now tell their base that if they threaten the filibuster, the democrats might take it away.

  69. BeccaM says:

    Not bad, but they do need to ditch the filibuster entirely. For legislation, and for Supreme Court appointments, too.

    And no more ‘One Senator holds’ on anything.

  70. BeccaM says:

    Of course not. The real reason was they didn’t want a Democratic president filling those positions, and have adopted as an official GOP strategy an attempt to ensure only they get to run the government.

    It’s been an increasing tendency, too, over the last two decades. Whenever it’s a Republican president, their demands were that the Prez should be able to pick whoever he wants to serve in the Administration, it’s the Prez’s right to make appointments, blah blah blah.

    As soon as it’s been a Dem, all of a sudden, those powers are suspended and the GOP demands that they get to pick who’s appointed or (more recently) that the positions remain empty until there’s a Republican president in office to fill them.

  71. Thom Allen says:

    This is long overdue. The Democrats have consistently threatened this and then backed off. They seem to be so much into being conciliatory, trying to compromise and being the “nice guy” of the two major parties. About time Reid at all got some backbone and pushed back against the GOP. They need to keep it up and Obama needs to get some additional spine as well.

    And, we need to keep a list of the turncoat Dems who are siding with the RepubliCONS and turn them the hell out of the Senate and do the same for their colleagues in the House who do the same.

  72. Steve_in_CNJ says:

    “simply because Republicans don’t think the court needs its full compl(e)ment of judges” was never the real reason.

  73. LanceThruster says:


  74. Indigo says:

    It’s time for the name change, no longer “GOP” or “Republican,’ now definitely and identifiably, the Obstructionist Party.

  75. HeartlandLiberal says:

    I am sad I finished the last of that 21 year old bottle of scotch recently. Now would have been a fine time for that last wee dram.

  76. lilyannerose says:

    I’m trying to decide which of my favorite champagne to buy to render toasts onto Harry! (It’s about damned time!)

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