Nov 212013

Senate Democrats went “nuclear” today and voted for a rule change that ends the filibuster for most judicial and executive nominees while preserving its use for Supreme Court nominees and legislation. This change has been a long time in coming, given the constant Republican filibustering of Obama nominees over the last few years. Republicans will almost certainly reap the rewards of this change whenever they take back the majority, so their caterwauling about a Democratic power grab should be taken with a ginormous grain of salt.

Even though this move will ultimately make it easier for conservatives to enact their agenda once they’re in power, this is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our body politic. Elections should have consequences that cannot be undermined by the minority. Most parliamentary democracies operate under this assumption and none of them seem in danger of falling into tyranny. Any hope of passing major legislation in this Congress is long gone, but at least the Senate will fulfill its obligation to approve nominees for critical executive and judicial posts.

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