Nuclear Option May Blow Up on Frist

Over the weekend Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell said he believes he “will have the votes” to ban the use of filibusters against judicial nominees through the nuclear option. It’s hard to understand where he gets his confidence. Here’s a look at where key members of his own party stand:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):

SCHIEFFER: Well, can I just ask you the direct question? Are you opposed to doing away with the filibuster, Senator?

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.


Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA):

If we have a nuclear option, the Senate will be in turmoil and the Judiciary Committee will be hell… I can see a filibuster in an extraordinary case

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE):

[Y]ou can’t give up a minority rights tool [the filibuster] … you’ve got 100 United States senators. Some of us might be moderately intelligent enough to figure this out. We would, I think, debase our system and fail our country if we don’t do this.

Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI):

Chafee is the other sure-fire Republican defector. “He feels that it would be a mistake to change the Senate rules,” explains spokesman Stephen Hourahan.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME):

“I don’t think it’s going to be any surprise about what I intend to do on this vote,” said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, a moderate who remains officially undecided but seems all but certain to oppose changing the rules.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME):

I wish this would pass us by because I am concerned about the impact on the Senate of trying to put through a change that does not represent a consensus.

Sen. John Warner (R-VA):

I just look at this institution as really the last bastion of protecting the rights of the minority and we should be very careful before we try and make any changes.

Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH):

DeWine “is not going to disclose what he might do,’’ spokesman Mike Dawson said this week.

Sen. John Sununu (R-NH):

I just decided that I wasn’t going to take a public position and I haven’t.