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Filibuster Just Got Nuked

oh yes they did

History was just made in the United States’ Senate. Democrats used the so-called nuclear option to stop a filibuster on a judicial nominee. It was in response to Republicans declaring they would filibuster any Obama nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals regardless of merit, so its conservative leanings would never change. The change was supported 52-48.

This was not the complete destruction of the filibuster in the Senate but this very well could be the beginning of the end for this absurd practice. Technically, it only applies to most nominees — it doesn’t cover the nominees to the Supreme Court– but what is really important is that a precedent has been set.

Democrats finally proved they are willing and able to stop obstructionism. They also showed the media, donors, and activists how quickly and easily the Senate rules can be changed. It should be clear to everyone all past and possibly future complaining about not being able to do something because of a filibuster threat is total nonsense.

Now the Democrats have proved they are willing and able to change the rules, there is nothing stopping them they from using it in the future for legislation or the Supreme Court. Similarly, there is no reason for Republicans to hold back if they ever gain control of the chamber. They already threatened to do this same thing when they were in control just a few years ago.

The Senate has taken a big step towards functioning as it was designed to, with most issues decided by an up-or-down vote. The stupid 60 vote threshold is not dead yet but it has been seriously wounded.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Photo by House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats on Flickr.
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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at