At least some Senate Democrats have had enough after Monday afternoon, when Republicans filibustered the third
of President Obama's three nominees for the D.C. Circuit court. One Democrat who was previously opposed to rules reform on judicial nominees has changed her mind
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said Tuesday she supports a rules change for nominees via the nuclear option after "unconscionable" GOP filibusters of three consecutive individuals to D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"I do now," she told TPM in the Capitol. "It is unconscionable for a president not to be able to have his cabinet team, his sub-cabinet team, and not be able to appoint judges."
"I've been very shocked by the way very qualified nominees, particularly for the D.C. Circuit, have been filibustered," Feinstein said.
Feinstein's California colleague Barbara Boxer said a few weeks ago
that she was finally open to the idea of reform. That's not as equivocal as Feinstein, but critical movement. It's not just these two: Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery talked to 10 Democratic senators
and among those 10, just one opposes rules reform. Some of those she talked to were previously opposed. Even for slow-to-react senators, they've seen with their own eyes just how bad it's become. Here's the evidence:
A key to Reid amassing the 51 votes he needs for rules reform on judicial nomination is the Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy, who previously has been cool to the idea. Monday's vote was the end of it for him. It was his "tipping point."
Let's hope he and Reid can make it the tipping point for enough of the others.
Email your Democratic senator(s). Tell them Republican obstruction of judicial nominees must stop—even if it stopping it requires going nuclear.
1:36 PM PT: It looks like Reid might think he has the votes, now. A senior Democratic Senate aide tells Greg Sargent he's ready to go on the nuclear option for judicial nominees (excepting Supreme Court nominees), possibly as soon as this week.
Reid has become personally invested in the idea that Dems have no choice other than to change the rules if the Senate is going to remain a viable and functioning institution,” the aide says. That’s a long journey from where Reid was only 10 months ago, when he agreed to a toothless filibuster reform deal out of a real reluctance to change the rules by simple majority. Asked to explain the evolution, the aide said: “It’s been a long process. But this is the only thing we can do to keep the Senate performing its basic duties.”
Asked if Reid would drop the threat to go nuclear if Republicans green-lighted one or two of Obama’s judicial nominations, the aide said: “I don’t think that’s going to fly.”
Reid thinks Republicans have boxed themselves in to the point where they can't back down at all, and that going nuclear is the only option for Democrats, and that "Reid believes he now has 51 Dem Senators behind a rules change, if it comes down to it."