Today Senate Republicans have decided to change longstanding rules in order to clear the way for Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination. Republicans chose to bypass a Democratic filibuster in order to allow Gorsuch’s nomination to go forward on a simple majority vote.
The 60 vote threshold tradition for Supreme Court nominees was due to the desire to have lifetime appointments to our highest federal courts be truly representative of the general population of the United States and not just of an ideological few.
Former GOP Senate Majority leader Trent Lott coined the term Nuclear Option because both parties saw it as an unthinkable final recourse, just like nuclear war.
This decision to invoke the nuclear option by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans effectively gives smaller-populated states more power. Due to there being more smaller states, and all states have equal representation in the Senate, smaller states can push their agenda and defeat the larger-populated states through a simple majority.
The filibuster proved a way to keep radical or polarizing ideological ideas from being pushed across the entire population. That no longer is the case and the impacts and implications of this are much farther reaching than just adding Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.