Blumenthal: Dems should not use 'nuclear option' on future SCOTUS nominees

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Tuesday said he would not support a future Democratic Senate majority's use of the so-called "nuclear option" to confirm Supreme Court nominees.

"I believe very strongly that for a nominee on the United States Supreme Court, there ought to be more than a razor-thin majority," he said on CNN. "So I would be against Democrats using the nuclear option — very strongly against it."

"I believe there ought to be bipartisan consensus behind a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court that has such immense power," he added.

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Lawmakers in the Senate are currently locked in a bitter fight over the confirmation of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Democrats on Monday secured enough votes to effectively filibuster Gorsuch's nomination.

But Republicans have pushed back by threatening to change chamber rules and get rid of the 60-vote threshold to move a Supreme Court nomination forward.

Under that "nuclear option," only 51 votes would be needed to limit debate on Gorsuch, giving the nominee a clear path to confirmation. 

If Republicans change the threshold, the new rule would apply to all future Supreme Court picks, meaning that any nominee that goes before the Senate would need only a simple majority to move forward.

Democrats have vowed to block Gorsuch's nomination, in part as retaliation for Senate Republicans' refusal to hold a hearing for former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland last year. They have also attacked Gorsuch's judicial history as favoring businesses and special interests.