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Congress
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2013-2017

Nuclear Option and 2017 Filibuster Change

In recent years, the Senate has carved out exceptions to its filibuster rule, including for presidential appointments requiring Senate confirmation.

Slides

The Constitution requires presidents’ judicial nominees to receive Senate confirmation. In the past, these nominations were subject to the filibuster, which required 60 senators to support a candidate. However, Senate Democrats approved a rule change often called the “nuclear option” in 2013, eliminating the filibuster for all presidential nominees except those to the Supreme Court. In 2017, Senate Republicans extended the exemption to Supreme Court nominees to allow confirmation via a simple majority vote.