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McConnell, GOP Senators Refuse To Go On Record About Using ‘Nuclear Option’ To Save Supreme Court

Republicans are hopeful about President-Elect Donald Trump’s prospective Supreme Court justice pick, which would ideally replace the late Justice Scalia with another conservative. However, it is likely that Democrats will attempt to block Trump’s nominee with the Senate filibuster, in which case Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have to invoke the “nuclear option” and appeal to the presiding officer of the Senate in order to shut down the filibuster without the necessary Senate super-majority vote.

In November 2013, Senate Democrats used the “nuclear option” to override a filibuster of executive and judicial court nominees, to which McConnell lamented, “It’s a sad day in the history of the Senate,” calling the move a “power grab.”

But will McConnell use the so-called nuclear option if Republicans are blocked by Senate Democrats in 2017? The answer is “certainly questionable,” The Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro says.

“That’s particularly true if certain left-leaning Republican senators like Susan Collins (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) decide not to support such a maneuver,” he goes on to explain. “Then, McConnell would be stuck – he’d have to go back to Trump and bring forward a judicial nominee acceptable to a broader majority of senators. It’s up to McConnell to keep Republicans in line.”

“That’s quite a question,” McConnell’s communications director, David Popp, told The Daily Wire, assuring he will send a definite answer from McConnell.

No such answer was forthcoming. McConnell and his Republican peers in the senate refused to go on record about whether they will support such a move.

Instead, McConnell’s press secretary sent an old transcript from a news conference. During that news conference, McConnell said, “Well it won’t surprise you to know, I’m not going to address what might happen in a context of a Supreme Court appointment. What we do know is the new president will fill the vacancy and I expect it to be handled in the way these court appointments are typically handled. And, I would not anticipate any particular strategy in — that the Democrats might employed to defeat it or what we might do in reaction to that.”

Pressed for a more specific answer, Popp told The Daily Wire, “I don’t have anything to add, or imply, regarding the Leader’s quote.”

Other Senate Republicans followed suit. McCain’s and Collins’ offices deflected the question or simply did not reply to inquiries, and Murkowski’s office said they would not be able to answer such a question until next week at the earliest.

Graham’s office sent The Daily Wire the following quote from him regarding a possible Democrat filibuster:

If they try to block this pick, they will regret it. If you don’t honor Trump’s nominee, you’re making a huge mistake.

Asked whether this was an implication Graham supported the nuclear option, his communications director, Kevin Bishop, simply repeated his words with no further comment: “They will regret it.”

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