Two Republican senators hope to end the filibuster for all SCOTUS nominations. Well, good luck with that…
This one went a little under the radar, but last Wednesday Republican Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mike Lee of Utah introduced a bill that would end the practice of filibusters in regards to Supreme Court nominations. The proposed rule changes would allow the Senate to approve SCOTUS nominations through a simple majority vote, similar to the 2013 rule changes that allowed cabinet positions to be filled. Currently for SCOTUS nominations to be approved you have to get 60 votes in the Senate.
The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to vote on the measure later this year. But with hesitation from both Democrats and Republicans, it’s hard to see this one passing due to potential shifts in political power down the road.
Unlike in 2013, Democrats are now the minority in the Senate, so they’re now less likely to oppose rules regarding the elimination of the filibuster. Republicans are worried that President Obama would try to implement more liberal judges onto the Supreme Court before his term is up.
Also both parties are worried about the outcome of the 2016 presidential race. It’s expected that four Supreme Court Justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy – are likely to retire during the next president’s term. If the proposed changes to the filibuster were to pass, that would greatly strengthen the president’s power to pass SCOTUS candidates thus tipping the scales of the Supreme Court.
With the outcome of 2016’s presidential election still up in the air, I doubt either the Democrats or Republicans would be willing to gamble by passing filibuster reform.
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