In 2013, Harry Reid pulled the trigger on the “nuclear option,” allowing Barack Obama to push any nominee other than a Supreme Court nominee through the Senate with a simple majority. Prior to this, those nominees needed 60 votes, which the Democrats did not have.
The Democrats then did exactly what they accused Republicans of doing when Neil Gorsuch’s nomination was before them. They had no real objections to Gorsuch’s nomination, other than the fact that they were upset Mitch McConnell didn’t give Merrick Garland what they called a “fair shot.” In response, McConnell pulled the trigger and SCOTUS nominees were also allowed to pass with a simple majority.
We talk all the time in politics of “slippery slopes,” where one political action could lead to something more dramatic. Had Harry Reid not pulled the trigger initially, then you likely would not have had McConnell doing the same. At that point, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.
So, thanks to Harry Reid for getting the ball rolling on this. I’m not necessarily thrilled that the nuclear option was used, because conservatives will have the same done to them – as they should because they demanded it. However, Kavanaugh appears to be a solid conservative for the Supreme Court, and if his nomination sails through with a simple majority, then we should all thank former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the opportunity.