WASHINGTON — Republicans invoked the “nuclear option” in the Senate Thursday, unilaterally rewriting the chamber’s rules to allow President Donald Trump’s nominee to ascend to the Supreme Court.
Furious Democrats objected until the end, but their efforts to block Judge Neil Gorsuch failed as expected. Lawmakers of both parties bemoaned the long-term implications for the Senate, the court and the country.
“We will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
But on the Senate floor Thursday, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a last plea to his colleagues not to force him to trigger the nuclear option.
“So let me say this to my Democratic colleagues: If you truly cannot support the nomination of this eminently qualified nominee, then at least allow the bipartisan majority of the Senate that supports Gorsuch to take an up-or-down vote,” McConnell said. “You already deployed the nuclear option in 2013. Don’t trigger it again in 2017.”
But the moment the last motion passed to move the Gorsuch nomination forward, McConnell let himself show he was pleased.