Senate Deploys 'Nuclear Option,' Weakens Filibuster

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 (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In an historic shift on Thursday, the Senate voted 52-48 to eliminate the filibuster for most presidential nominations. Prompted by Senate Republicans' decision to stall three nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the new rules will allow a filibuster to be broken by simple majority. Supporters say the change will eliminate obstructionism. Opponents call it a power grab. We explore the history of the filibuster and the implications of the rule change.


Ron Elving, senior Washington editor for NPR News

Gregory Koger, associate professor of political science at the University of Miami and author of "Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate"

Thomas Mann, senior fellow, governance studies at the Brookings Institution and co-author of "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the Politics of Extremism"