Should the Nuclear Option be used to confirm Judge Gorsuch?

Partisans think their ideologies should be imposed on others. Retweet

Of course, we already know that they’ve fallen prey to the Dictator Fallacy — their scheme will be implemented as if they were an all-powerful dictator.

They’ve also forgotten that they will someday lose power to the opposing party. This problem is currently on display in the Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court nomination fight.

  • The Democrats are going to filibuster to block the confirmation. This is short-term thinking because it could lead the Republicans to use the so-called “nuclear option,” a procedure that would end the filibuster rule.
  • Republicans are also thinking short-term because someday the Democrats will be back in power. Then, the GOP may wish they had the filibuster power to protect their positions.

This reversal of power applies to all expansions of political power. So…

Encourage your partisan or ideologue friend to have empathy for their future selves using this brand new Mental Lever, which is only 187 words long.

When should statists oppose greater government powers?
The ‘shoe on the other foot’ rule


ZAP The State and have a nice day,

Jim Babka & Perry Willis
Co-creators, Zero Aggression Project

P.S. This message is in no way a commentary on the relative merits or charms of Judge Neil Gorsuch. The Zero Aggression Project is legally non-partisan and temperamentally anti-partisan. We are concerned with principles, not personalities. The nuclear option (a Senate voting rule) is just the current, hottest illustration of the “Shoe on the other foot” rule.

*-“ZAP The State and have a nice day” is a Service Mark of the Zero Aggression Project (an initiative of the Downsize DC Foundation)

Show Comments 2


  1. The filibuster is a rule that the Senate imposed on themselves. The House has no similar rule, and they seem to manage ok. Once upon a time, a filibuster required active holding of the floor (see “Mr Smith goes to Washington”) and so it was inherently self-limiting. Also, a vote for cloture (ending the filibuster) only required a 2/3 vote of the senators *on the floor at the time*, not a 2/3 vote of the *entire senate*. So a filibuster was a tactic to delay a vote while lobbying for support or changes to the bill, but it required a significant “cost” to maintain.

    The current rules allow a filibuster to be invoked but does not require effort to *maintain* the filibuster, so it becomes a way for the minority party to simply stop a vote indefinitely. Unless the majority party controls 2/3s of the entire senate, they cannot break the filibuster.

    So now, both parties have used filibusters, and both parties have invoked the so-called nuclear option to pass desired legislation. But it’s always amusing to see one party become apoplectic about the “other” party doing exactly what the first party did earlier. Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet pot.

    1. Post

      I agree that partisans are hypocritical. But the filibuster has stopped more bad laws from passing than good laws and repeals. The point of the articles was two-fold. One, it should be hard to increase taxes, pass a new law, etc. Real hard. The filibuster is good, on balance, at making it difficult. Two, we should notice the special pleading of partisans, but we shouldn’t give into being hypocritical for short-term gain. Stick with the principle. See reason one for why.

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