FLASHBACK: Warren Pushed for Nuclear Option to Kill Filibuster Rules in 2012, 2013

April 5, 2017

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) advocated for the so-called "nuclear option" to change the filibuster rules and confirm federal judges back in 2012 and 2013, despite now condemning Republicans for threatening to do the same with Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination.

Warren spoke on the Senate floor in 2013 to castigate Republicans who opposed then-President Obama's judicial nominations.

"If Republicans continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees for no reason other than to nullify the president's constitutional authority, then senators not only have the right to change the filibuster rules, senators have a duty to change the filibuster rules," Warren said.

The prior year, days after she was elected to the Senate in 2012, Warren wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post calling for the nuclear option to be used with all Senate votes to kill the filibuster rule.

The Massachusetts Democrat said that Senate Republicans used filibusters "to block judicial nominations, jobs bills, political transparency, [and end] Big Oil subsidies."

"On the first day of the new session in January [2013], the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote," Warren wrote.

In 2013, Senate Democrats did trigger the nuclear option to move forward on most presidential nominations except for those to the Supreme Court. Democrats changed the chamber's rules to circumvent Republican efforts to block some of Obama's judicial picks.

Three and a half years later, Warren is strongly advocating that Senate Democrats filibuster the nomination of Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans have threatened to use the nuclear option to confirm Gorsuch after most Democrats in the chamber pledged to filibuster his nomination. Warren now claims that such a move by Republicans would be "threatening" and "bullying."

Currently, all 52 Senate Republicans and three Senate Democrats have said they will vote to confirm Gorsuch, still five votes short of the traditional 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. With the use of the nuclear option, only a simple, 51-vote majority would be needed to confirm Gorsuch to the nation's highest court.