Republicans Take First Step to Confirm Gorsuch Using ‘Nuclear Option'

Republicans Take First Step to Confirm Gorsuch Using ‘Nuclear Option'

Republican lawmakers have begun the process of confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch by using the so-called “nuclear option” because they do not have the 60 needed votes.

Support for Judge Gorsuch is mostly split along party lines, although three Democrats have recently said they will vote for him. Other Senate Democrats have said they are prepared to filibuster Gorsuch’s confirmation, although if Republicans implement the “nuclear option,” a filibuster would not prevent him from being installed on the court.

According to, the “nuclear option” involves Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declaring that a filibuster can be stopped by 51 votes, rather than the normal 60. Vice President Mike Pence may be called on to break a tie vote in this case.

When asked if he was confident Republicans had enough votes to confirm Gorsuch, McConnell simply replied with an affirmative “yes.”   

"We are optimistic they [Democrats] will not be successful in keeping this man from joining the Supreme Court very soon,” McConnell stated last week, as Christian Headlines previously reported.

Although the “nuclear option” is an unpopular move, Republicans perhaps feel justified in using it since then-majority Democrats used it in 2013 to install judges in lower courts.

Some Republican senators, however, lamented the partisan politics which are at play.

"I think it's a dark day in the history of the United States Senate. It's going to happen. It's interesting that Republicans were dead set against it when my former colleague Harry Reid invoked it with the judges, but now it seems to be OK," said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).


Photo: Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 22, 2017 in Washington. Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left on the court by the February 2016 death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

Photo courtesy: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Publication date: April 5, 2017