Senate Democrats’ Break Rules to Take Away Filibuster on Judges From Republicans

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2013   |   1:46PM   |   Washington, DC

Senate Democrats today voted to take away the ability of Republicans to use filibusters against judicial nominees, including those pro-life groups oppose because they are pro-abortion.

Senate Rule 22, requires 67 votes to change the rules. Because 67 members do not want to change the rules, Senator Reid had to break the rules to change them.

The new rules will make filibusters on nominees to lower courts subject to a majority vote instead of a 60-member vote needed if any member of the Senate filibusters the nominee. The nuclear option the Senate Democrats approved today also applies to executive branch nominees. The Senate voted 52-48 to change the rules to stop the filibuster.

At least one pro-life group is opposed to the rules change.

Marilyn Musgrave, a former congresswoman who is the Vice President for Government Affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List told LifeNews her group opposes Senator Harry Reid’s ending the filibuster because it would “make it easier to push through his agenda, including nominating and approving radical pro-abortion judges.”

“You see, right now 60 votes are required to end a filibuster and confirm judicial nominations. But Senator Reid’s plan would require only a simple majority (51 votes) to ram through radical nominees who will back President Obama’s abortion agenda,” Musgrave said. “Make no mistake: Obama and Reid want to end the filibuster in order to force through pro-abortion judicial nominees. One such nominee is Georgetown professor Cornellia Pillard, who stated that abortion is necessary to free women from “conscription into maternity” and said pro-life convictions amount to an “animus against women.”



During the debate leading up to the vote, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the Majority Leader for using a fight over judges to distract from Obamacare’s failures.

McConnell said: “He might just as well have said, ‘if you like the rules of the Senate, you can keep them!’”

“I’d be looking to change the subject,” McConnell said. “If I were the Senator from Oregon, for example, which hasn’t enrolled a single person — a single person — through the ObamaCare exchange, I’d probably want to talk about something else, too.”

“It only reinforces the narrative,” McConnell said, “of a party that is willing to do and say just about anything to get its way.”