Senate uses ‘nuclear option’

By Daniel Urenda |Staff Writer|

Earlier this month, Republicans deployed the ‘nuclear option’ to push Neil Gorsuch through to the Supreme Court, leaving CSUSB students and faculty not entirely sure what this means for the future.

Gorsuch was confirmed on Friday, April 6, 2017 with a final vote of 54-45. On the following Monday morning, he was officially sworn in as the newest Supreme Court Justice.

With the need for 60 votes now gone, majority parties will no longer need to nominate judges that appeal to both sides.

Though this is seen by many as a controversial series of events, Republicans have cited the Democratic party’s usage of the ‘nuclear option’ in 2013 as a precedent for their actions.

Additionally, some are saying that Democrats knew the filibuster would leave Republicans with little recourse, especially with the loss of Antonin Scalia last year.

In an age of increasingly polarizing social issues, such as LGBTQ+ rights and immigration, it is hard to dismiss the power of the Supreme Court.

“Not moving on Garland and going nuclear on Gorsuch have been for the Republicans almost entirely a matter of minimizing damage,” said Political Science professor, Scot Zentner.

Even with the confirmation of Gorsuch, the Democratic Party can still have a strong foothold in the Supreme Court as five of the current justices have been known to lean left on some social issues.

However, it is clear that the handful of issues the Supreme Court has been split on for the past year may be dealt with much differently now that there are nine justices once again.

Professor Zentner further explained that though he mostly agreed with the claims that Democrats had been shortsighted, he believed Trump might not be in office the next time a Supreme Court Justice needs to be replaced.

“I really don’t agree with what Trump is doing, but this seems like it could be a double edged sword,” said student, Martin Garcia.

It appears that individuals on all sides of the political spectrum can at least agree that the Republican Party’s use of the nuclear option may eventually work against them.

“It may then turn out that a Democratic president with a Democratic Senate could, much as the Republicans did with Gorsuch replacing Scalia, appoint a liberal justice to replace the liberal Ginsburg,” Zentner continued.

Another area of speculation is how Gorsuch will vote on future issues as part of the Supreme Court.

Zentner explained, “Justices, particularly those appointed by Republicans, sometimes act on the Court differently than they did beforehand.”

While many are confident that Gorsuch will be as conservative as his predecessor, only time will tell if this is the case.

“He might end up being as bad as Scalia, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” said student, Rebecca Hernandez.

Though nothing has been confirmed, there have been rumors that Justice Anthony Kennedy is planning to retire from the Supreme Court. While Kennedy has mostly acted as a conservative, he has been known to side with liberals on certain issues.