That is why Frist needs to concentrate his energies, organize the majority, and face down the challenge posed by Harry Reid and his troops. But let's call this "nuclear option" by its proper name: the fairness option. Senate Democrats are the ones who have, in effect, gone nuclear--requiring a supermajority of 60 senators to approve judges. Listening to Democrats, and reading editorial commentary, Mr. and Mrs. America might have gained the impression that the three-fifths Senate vote required to end debate was dictated by James Madison on his deathbed. Hardly. Cloture is a Senate rule, not a constitutional requirement. It was President Woodrow Wilson, frustrated by the Senate's indulgence of endless talk, who promoted the adoption of Rule XXII, mandating a two-thirds vote for cloture. Sixty years later, Senate Democrats, led by Robert Byrd, reduced the two-thirds requirement to three-fifths. The sacred principle of requiring 60 votes to end a filibuster is neither an ideal of the Founders nor a historic precedent: It is a procedural rule less than 30 years old. And, in the long history of the United States, filibusters have never been used by a minority systematically to block a president's judicial nominees (all emphasis mine, mine, all mine!).
- The Exile