“The filibuster was already doomed before the nuclear option vote”

Josh Chafetz in WaPo:

But the truth is, there’s less to the theatrics than meets the eye. The filibuster for Supreme Court nominees was already dead — it just hadn’t stopped moving quite yet. Before Democrats vowed to filibuster Gorsuch’s nomination, they almost certainly knew that using the tactic would mean its elimination. And this may not be the last nuclear option detonated, either: The history of Congress shows that once parliamentary tools become big enough obstacles for the majority party, they are abolished or reformed. If Senate Democrats stymie Republicans enough over the next few years, the legislative filibuster could soon be gone, too.

The filibuster has become more routine in the Senate over the past few decades. What was once a highly aggressive tactic used only in cases of extraordinary opposition mutated into a de facto standing requirement: Getting nearly any matter through the Senate required 60 votes.


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