In a dramatic turn of events on the Senate floor today, Democrats opened up with an attempted filibuster before the GOP moved to invoke cloture and then to a vote on Neil Gorsuch.
As expected, there weren’t enough votes for cloture, so the GOP made good on threats to change Senate rules lowering the bar for cloture votes on judicial nominees.
The historic change in rules guarantees approval for Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which will have major ripple effects for decades to come.
It also likely greases the skids should President Trump have an opportunity to fill a second seat on the Court.
Here’s more from Breitbart…
Senate Republicans used the “constitutional option” to change longstanding cloture rules around 12:30pm Thursday, clearing the way for Judge Neil Gorsuch to receive a vote of the full Senate on his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Republicans resorted to the party-line 52-48 vote after weeks of wrangling over Gorsuch’s nomination in which Senate Democrats threatened the first partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in American history. After the Democrats assembled the forty-one votes needed to prevent the end of debate under current rules, the constitutional option allowing cloture on a simple majority became the only remaining path to placing Gorsuch on the Court.
Vice-President Mike Pence, who would have been needed to break a tie should any two Republicans have voted to maintain the 60-vote cloture rule, was not present for the vote, indicating Republican confidence their entire caucus would agree to the change.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved for a point of order after his first attempt to invoke cloture failed with only 55 votes. From the podium, he cited the need to “restore Senate norms” in light of the Democrats’ “unprecedented partisan filibuster” of a Supreme Court nominee.
McConnell invoked the precedent of Senate Democrats’ own change to same simple majority cloture rule for all presidential nominees but those to the Supreme Court in 2013 in calling for an override of the Senate chair’s determination sixty votes were needed for cloture. That appeal passed on a party-line 52-48 vote.