GOP is playing with fire here, but it seems like they're confident they will keep control of the Senate in 2016. If they get the White House too, then the game is over for the Dems if they pull this off.
Top Senate Republicans are considering gutting the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees — a move that could yield big rewards for whichever party controls the White House and Senate after 2016.
The move, still in its early stages, reflects growing GOP confidence in its electoral prospects next year. But it could also have a major immediate impact if a justice such as 81-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg steps down, making it far easier for President Barack Obama to get a replacement confirmed.
The proposed change would expand on the dramatic move Democrats made in 2013, when they killed the 60-vote hurdle for executive branch nominations and almost all judicial nominees. Republicans have complained bitterly about the Democrats’ action ever since, saying it violated the Senate’s tradition of being a deliberative body where the minority holds big sway. But now, GOP supporters contend, it may be time to bring majority rule to votes on Supreme Court nominations, too.
The 60-vote filibuster threshold would remain for legislation.
The GOP understands that there's a very good change the next President will be able to appoint 2, maybe 3 justices. They seem to be willing to leverage blocking any further SCOTUS appointments for Obama into assuring that they have precedent for packing the court in 2016 if there's a GOP president. And let's face it, if a Democrat wins and they still control the Senate, well Hillary or whoever isn't going to be able to appoint anyone anyway.
There is massive upside and very little downside right now for the GOP doing this. They are counting on cover from the Village, and a short memory of the public, two extremely safe bets.
We'll see what happens, but if I were the GOP, I'd throw the dice on this.