Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the Democrats can’t filibuster on a Supreme Court pick, at least not successfully. I know that Reid keeps saying that the nuclear option has been permanently taken off the table, but that’s not quite right. Several of the gang of fourteen said that if the Democrats fillibustered a qualified Scotus pick then the nuclear option would be back on the table. It was all part of that “extraordinary circumstances” clause, or whatever it was called. Lindsey Graham seems to be repeating this in today’s New York Times:
But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, fired back, saying that any filibuster would not stand, a warning that had some significance because he played a crucial role earlier this year in helping block a Republican effort to change the Senate rules – known as the nuclear option – so that Democrats could not filibuster judicial nominees.
Senator Graham’s comments on Sunday suggested that this time, he would support such a rule change; Democrats have threatened to retaliate to such a move with a battle that could snarl Senate business for months.
Me: I’d also have to think that McCain himself would be a fool for not helping Alito. As Rich has argued many times, McCain cannot be president without making some effort to win back the base of the Republican Party. Even if McCain is less than fully convinced of that, he surely recognizes that actively hindering Alito’s appointment would ruin his chances of winning the Republican nomination.