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The Nuclear Option Catch-22 for Republicans

Some Senate Republicans are entertaining the idea of bring back the filibuster for executive nominees, according to the Huffington Post.

The problem is there is no way for Republicans to undo the Democrats’ rule change without validating what Democrats did.

I strongly suspect Senate Republicans won’t be able to find enough votes from Senate Democrats to change the rules using the “regular” way. That requires 67 votes. This means the only way Senate Republicans can bring back the old system is if they use the so called “nuclear option” to change the rules with a simple majority.

Using the “nuclear option” to undo the other side’s past use of the “nuclear option” just legitimatizes it as the an acceptable way to change the rules in the Senate. It affirms the precedent that the rules of the Senate are really just whatever a simple majority of senators decides they should be, which is how basically every sane legislative chambers in the world functions.

Whether Republicans decide to allow the reduction in the filibuster to stand or endorse that idea that a simple majority has the power to change the rules to bring it back, either way it undermines the legitimacy of the filibuster.

Photo by U.S. Army Photographic Signal Corps

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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