http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...c_story_1.htmlReid, Democrats trigger ‘nuclear’ option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees
The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn on Thursday, when Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.
The rule change means federal judge nominees and executive-office appointments can be confirmed by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote super majority that has been required for more than two centuries...
But the impact of the move is be more far-reaching. The means for executing this rules change — a simple-majority vote, rather than the long-standing two-thirds majority required to change the chamber’s standing rules — is more controversial than the actual move itself.
Many Senate majorities have thought about using this technical maneuver to get around centuries of parliamentary precedent, but none has done so in a unilateral move on a major change of rules or precedents.
I'm curious to see what happens next... the use of the filibuster to keep the President from filling federal vacancies has always seemed absurd to me, whether we're talking GWB or Obama.
I can understand it more when it comes to legislative bills, but I think that any nominee to a federal appointment should be entitled to a swift up or down vote (so that the applicant isn't held in limbo and that the job position can be filled)