The “nuclear option” was detonated Thursday.
Democrats, frustrated over Republicans filibustering three of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees, changed the U.S. Senate rule that has required 60 votes to confirm executive branch appointments. The change means that only a simple majority will be needed to confirm presidential nominees to courts, Cabinet posts and other agencies. (U.S. Supreme Court nominations would be exempted from the change.)
It is a major shift for the tradition-laden Senate, where slow-moving deliberation has long been the name of the game. But that wrangling, at times, needlessly prolonged delays in filling some important judicial vacancies.
Going forward, two things are clear:
>> Presidents, of both parties, generally deserve to have the people they choose running their administrations. Making the confirmation process easier, however, cannot be an excuse to allow unqualified appointees to slip through.
>> The tables will turn. Democrats won’t always be in the majority, and this will affect their ability to block a GOP nominee. On that day, they’ll need to remember who pushed the “nuclear” button.