Local expert weights in on President Donald Trump’s “nuclear option” endorsement

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – President Donald Trump gave his blessing Wednesday to Senate Republicans to go with the “nuclear option” if Democrats block his Supreme Court nominee.

Trump nominated federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch Tuesday.

While no official decision has been made, UL Lafayette Political Science Department Head Rick Swanson said this “nuclear option” could stop filibusters altogether for future Supreme Court nominations.

“If one party or the other were to end the filibuster for a Supreme Court nomination, that is referred to as the nuclear option because it’s basically like nuclear war,” Swanson said.

According to Swanson, senators are hesitant to use this option.

“It would really poison the atmosphere in the Senate. If one party does that means the next time the other party is in charge, they’re going to do the same thing,” Swanson said.

Filibusters, while not in the constitution, are used in the Senate to make the minority party’s voice heard, according to Swanson. In this case, the minority party is the Democrat Party.

If used, instead of needing 60 votes in the senate to break the filibuster, Trump would need only 51 votes to confirm his Supreme Court Nominee. However Swanson said, it comes with a price.

“Nobody wants to end the use of the filibuster in the Senate because every senator and every party wants to keep that power for themselves,” Swanson said.

The Senate plans to have their confirmation hearing for Gorsuch in six weeks.

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