In 2003 Harry Reid used the ‘nuclear option’ to confirm judges. His new rule said no filibuster could be used to stop judges below the Supreme Court. A simple majority was enough to confirm them.
I appears that that the Republicans pulling every stop and blocking President Barack Obama’s federal judge appointees is going to pay off.
Now, upon taking office, besides the Supreme Court seat left open by the late justice Antonin Scalia, over 100 judges will be replaced by Republican President Donald Trump.
Obama inherited 54 federal judgeships to be filled from George W. Bush in 2009.
Trump will have the opportunity to populate the federal court system with conservative judges to serve lifetime appointments. His appointments are likely to be confirmed in the upper chamber because of the Republican majority he has until 2018 or longer if the Republicans retain the majority.
Judges appointed by Trump, could fundamentally shape the courts for generations are all but certain to weigh in on hot issues. These issues will most likely affect gun control, abortion, voting rights, anti-discrimination measures and civil liberties controversies. The president-elect is looking for someone of “similar views, principles and judicial philosophies” as those of the late conservative justice Scalia.
With the future in mind, Senate Republicans took the unprecedented step of refusing to even hold hearings to confirm Obama’s eventual Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.