November 22, 2013
Yesterday, we witnessed an historic power-grab as the beltway liberals desperately attempt to divert attention from the scandalous ObamaCare disaster. Senator Harry Reid, in a highly controversial move, detonated the “nuclear option” — a rules change that now requires a simple majority of 51 rather than 60 votes to confirm executive judicial nominations.
Now, with only 51 votes, Harry Reid can kill any filibuster on nominations (except, for now, Supreme Court nominees). Although Reid claims that this power play will "fix a broken system,” it was met with unanimous Republican opposition along with three Democrats. In spite of this opposition, this unprecedented rules change passed 52-48.
Although the majority party controls the agenda of the Senate, the rights of the minority have always been protected through the power of the filibuster. Even Harry Reid himself previously called the nuclear option “an outrageous abuse of power” and these clips denote then-Senator Barack Obama’s emphatic opposition to putting “an end to the democratic debate.”
In 2009, we watched liberals force ObamaCare on the American people by strict party-line votes with procedures that stripped the minority’s rights. Now, they are doing the same thing, except with frightening, radical nominations who will, from the bench, enforce Barack Obama’s liberal agenda on the American people for decades.
The liberals understand the importance of the courts, and even more so, the value of the filibuster. Though they denounced the nuclear option when they were in the minority, the liberals in the Senate now embrace it as the Republicans have effectively stopped three of Obama’s most radical and egregious nominees - Millet, Pillard, and Wilkins — to the controversial D.C. Circuit court.
The President and Harry Reid would like for you to believe that the Republicans are “obstructionists,” but that is simply untrue. The Republicans have only filibustered 5 of the President’s nominees and have confirmed 209. Read Senator Grassley’s floor speech addressing this issue here.
As you can see, Republicans have been very cooperative with the President, but with the nuclear option, Senator Reid only needs a simple majority to confirm these nominations. By previously voting against the three D.C. Circuit judges, Reid reserved the right to bring those controversial nominees back for a vote. He did so on Thursday with Millet, triggering the nuclear option, and we expect him to try and push through these nominees in the coming days.
Most alarming, however, is that we know the liberals won’t stop here. Right now, this rule only applies to nominations, but we know it is only a matter of time before they apply it to their legislative agenda as well.
As Politico noted, changing the rules of the Senate has “always been avoided through a piecemeal deal, a gentleman’s agreement or a specific solution, not a historic change to the very fabric of the Senate.” This new rule will empower the liberals for as long as they control the White House and the Senate, but it also sets a precedent for use by conservatives should a change in Senate Leadership occur in 2014.
Read more here about how Senator Reid had to break Senate rules in order to change them.
Read here about the origination of filibustering judicial nominees that was started by the Democrats during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Read more about how this move will fundamentally alter the way the Senate works.