McCain Concerned About Using Nuclear Option For Gorsuch


Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona has issued a warning about the consequences of overriding the Senate's filibuster provision to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

But McCain said he would back the move despite his concerns, The Huffington Post reported.

"We are in a terrible place. My colleagues should understand that this is a historic moment if we move forward with it," McCain said.

Democrats have secured the 40 votes necessary for a filibuster. Republicans are expected to respond by resorting to the so-called "nuclear option," a rarely used power that enables the filibuster to be abolished by a simple majority. The Republicans hold 52 of the Senate's 100 seats.

The possibility of avoiding this outcome grew even slimmer April 5 as senators from both parties acknowledged that negotiations to reach a deal had broken down.

"The negotiations with which I was heavily involved have failed to come up with a compromise, which saddens me," said Republican Senator Susan Collins, according to The Hill. "There's so little trust between the two parties that it was very difficult to put together an agreement that would avert changing the rules."

Approximately 10 lawmakers were involved in the talks.

"I invested a lot of time in the last week in meeting with, talking to and exchanging ideas with both Republicans and Democrats," added Democratic Sen. Christopher Coons of Delaware. "At the end of the day, there were a few key sticking points, one was the lack of trust because of the way Merrick Garland was treated."

In his remarks, McCain recalled that Republicans opposed the Democrats' decision in 2013 to overturn the filibuster against several judicial nominees by then-President Barack Obama. He cited Republican Senate Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who declared at the time that the Democrats were doing away with "one of the most cherished safeguards of liberty in our government -- the right of a political minority to have a voice," The Huffington Post reported.

McCain stressed that the abolition of the filibuster could have long-term consequences.

"Now that we are entering into an era where a simple majority decides all judicial nominations, we will see more and more nominees from the extremes of both left and right. I do not see how that will ensure a fair and impartial judiciary," said McCain.

But in the end, he stated he would support his party.

"I find myself torn between protecting the traditions and practices of the Senate and the importance of having a full compliment of justices on the Supreme Court," he said. "I'm left with no choice. I will vote to change the rules and allow Judge Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority."

Sources: The Huffington Post, The Hill / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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