Menendez Statement on Republicans Going Nuclear to Push through Gorsuch Nomination

Menendez Statement on Republicans Going Nuclear to Push through Gorsuch Nomination

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) released the following statement after Republicans invoked the “nuclear option” by voting to change the Senate rules in order to advance the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Today is a sad today for the United States Senate, as this action by Republicans takes us a giant step towards sinking the world’s greatest deliberative body into the pit of hyper-partisanship and dysfunction.  But it is an even sadder day for the American people, who, now more than ever, need Supreme Court justices who will put the rights of people—workers, women, consumers, families of all backgrounds—ahead of powerful corporations and interests.  A more ideologically divided court threatens longstanding protections for women’s reproductive rights and other vital issues impacting people’s lives.

“We call this action the nuclear option for a reason—because it is extreme and destructive to this institution.  By invoking the nuclear option for our Supreme Court, today, the Republican majority has turned their backs on their obligation both to this institution and to the rights of the minority.  I am truly fearful they are merely one step away from doing the same on every piece of legislation.  They have caused irreparable harm that will only undermine this respected institution.

“The Framers warned us that when we succumb to the tyranny of the majority, we eviscerate the founding principles upon which our government stands, silence minority voices and cast aside the most vulnerable in our society.  Not only does this action erode the ability for the Senate to serve as an independent check on a president’s power to reshape our judiciary, but it decimates the Senate’s bipartisan tradition of finding common ground on our country’s most difficult and controversial issues.  

“It is not unreasonable to expect a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land to be subjected to a higher standard and a higher bar.  Since the Eisenhower Administration, every Supreme Court justice has garnered more than 60 votes for confirmation.  Some have even advanced unanimously.  That’s how it’s supposed to work.  Yet, today, after Neil Gorsuch failed to reach the 60-vote threshold, the Republican majority regrettably chose to change the rules in the middle of the game.  Now, all Supreme Court nominees will only need a simple majority vote to serve on the high court.

“It’s a shame that the Senate was not presented with a mainstream, consensus nominee and we are in this lamentable position today.  Our country desperately needs to come together to create good paying jobs and fix our crumbling infrastructure, but eliminating the filibuster will only push us further apart and make bipartisan compromise more difficult.”