At the National Press Club on April 26, 2005, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked about a move being discussed by Senate Republicans, then in control, to change the Senate rules so as to require a mere majority vote rather than the 60 votes necessary to end a potential filibuster… known by opponents as the "nuclear option," and by supporters as the "constitutional option"
"You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there's a broad consensus before the country moves forward.
I would like to think that this is something that we could sort out,
And I think that the way to sort it out would be for this administration to do what every administration previous to this one has done;
which is to say, 'Here are a set of nominees. Let's run them by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, figure out which of these judges generate the most heat, are considered most out of the extreme, and then let's work out what the list is of judges who in fact can gain some bipartisan support.'
I mean, that's what every president has done up until this point.
And what we have now is a president who has decided, you know, 'I've gotten 95 percent of my appointees, but there are these 10 that I want just because I want them.' Hasn't gotten his way.
And that is now prompting, you know, a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever."