They should follow the precedent Harry Reid set in 2013, and confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch with 51 votes instead of 60.
The United States Senate is a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. Amidst the fallout, it’s time enough at last for us to get things done and confirm Judge Gorsuch and every other person we need to the bench—all with 51 votes. By dawn’s early light, our Senate Majority Leader needs to activate Mad Mitch: Fury Road.
Some believe that passing laws and confirming appointees in the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes, calling any attempt to do otherwise a “nuclear option.” Such a move is well within the Senate’s defined constitutional powers, but allegedly a newfangled innovation in an institution supposed to prize precedent and tradition.
The trouble is the Senate did not start out working this way, and even if we are inclined more toward recent practice, the sum of all fears has already been realized: Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pushed the nuclear button. The only reason anything requires 60 votes anymore is because 51 votes say so. Does anyone doubt that, if Senate Democrats had a majority in 2016, Judge Merrick Garland would have replaced Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court? Relaxing on the beach and pretending that nothing has happened in the Senate wastes our precious majority without securing future minority rights.
Simple Majority Votes Used To Be The Norm