After joining with his fellow Republicans to trigger the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules for confirming Supreme Court nominees on Thursday, Arizona Sen. John McCain said the vote was tough for him.
The Republicans changed the confirmation rules after Senate Democrats organized the first-ever partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, in this case President Donald Trump’s choice of Neil Gorsuch.
Ending a filibuster requires 60 votes, and the Republicans did not have those votes. So they decided to amend the Senate rules so that Supreme Court nominees will now need only a simple majority to be confirmed rather than the previous 60 votes.
While Republicans banded together to approve the rule change, McCain and others such as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine spent the past week warning that the so-called nuclear option would damage Senate traditions and could have dangerous consequences in the future.
After voting for the rule change on Thursday, McCain said he thinks ending the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees is a “slippery slope,” according to Haley Byrd, a reporter for The Independent Journal Review.
These comments were similar to those he made before the vote. “I believe our actions will haunt us,” McCain said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “We will see more and more nominees from the extremes of both left and right.”