Well, the Senate Democrats did it as they have been threatening; they have finally triggered the so-called nuclear option. As of today, no longer can the GOP Senate minority filibuster the president’s judicial and administrative nominations. This is huge! Senate Democrats, arguing hypocritically the exact opposite of that which they argued just a decade ago when they were the Senate minority (many of those members are still in the Senate presently), today with 52 votes changed 225 years of Senate precedent. A decade ago, when the then-GOP Senate majority had threatened to do the same, to cutoff the on-going Democrat filibusters of Bush’s judicial nominees, Majority Leader Frist backed off in the end. But today Majority Leader Reid followed through on his threat.
The reason this action is so very huge is that our country as it is today, almost by default and with very little Congressional resistance, has become a country run primarily by administrators and court decisions. Each year only a relatively few important Congressional laws are actually passed, and many of those that are passed are simply ignored when expedient to do so. Just look at how easily and whimsically the president administratively changes the rules of ObamaCare, granting exemptions here, ordering insurance companies to action over there, no matter what that law actually says. Now with these new Senate filibuster rules, the president can easily and with virtually no resistance pack the federal courts and administrative bodies–bodies that actually run this country on a day-to-day basis, routinely making far-reaching decisions–with his political hacks.
No doubt in reaction when the GOP takes back the Senate, as it one day will, it will remove the remaining vestiges of the filibuster, not just for judicial nominees but for everything, including legislation, leaving the then-minority Democrats with no power at all.
As Minority Leader McConnell said to his Democrat colleagues shortly after the vote, “You may regret this a lot sooner than you think.”