Ohio's senators discuss 'nuclear option,' SCOTUS confirmation

Ohio's senators discuss 'nuclear option,' SCOTUS confirmation
U.S. Capitol (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ohio's Democratic United States Sen. Sherrod Brown said he doesn't know if the Senate will ever be the same after a Republican vote to change rules to push through the president's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Brown said Republican leadership in the Senate jammed through Gorsuch's nomination.

"Rather than change the rules they should have changed the nominee and because almost everybody on the Supreme Court was confirmed with well over 60 votes. Some of them -- (Justice Anthony) Kennedy, (Justice Antonin) Scalia, (Justice Ruth Bader) Ginsburg were close to, or unanimous, and the president should have instead of picking somebody off of a right wing conservative cheat sheet list, [what] he should have done is advise and consent the way other presidents have done and picked somebody that could be acceptable to both sides," said Brown. "That's what breaks my heart about this decision today, Republicans changed the rules to jam through a nominee who is going to side with large corporate interests and the rich and powerful over and over and over again and that's the tragedy."

Ohio's Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman issued a statement on the Senate's decision to vote to end a democratic filibuster on Gorsuch's nomination, the so-called "nuclear option."

"The bipartisan tradition of the Senate has been to confirm Supreme Court justices with a majority vote, so I'm disappointed that my friends across the aisle chose to move forward with this unprecedented partisan filibuster. Judge Gorsuch is exceptionally well-qualified and I look forward to supporting his confirmation," Portman said in a statement.

Brown said Gorsuch is wrong for the country.

"I wasn't one of 51 or 52 or however many there were that voted to change the rules and shatter tradition in the Senate. I think that Democrats simply did what they should have done, and that is oppose this nominee because he was clearly out of this political mainstream, and we have in the last four nominees, two from a Democratic president, two from a Republican president, all four drew over 60 votes because they had enough reach in both parties and enough support in the broad general public to get confirmed," he said.

Portman has called Gorsuch qualified, smart, and fair.

Fifty-four senators voted in favor of Gorsuch's nomination, 45 voted against it. The vote was along party lines, except for three Democrats who voted in favor of Gorsuch -- North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly.

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