In an unprecedented move today, Senate democrats invoked the so-called “nuclear option,” making it easier for Senators to block filibusters of executive or judicial nominees. The move, triggered through a point-of-order vote, allows senators to overrule executive and judicial filibusters with just 51 votes, rather than the usual 60. That will allow nominees to proceed on straight party lines and, in the short term, allow President Obama to fill a number of empty seats on circuit courts and within the government.
In the long term, the effects of the rule change are harder to predict. The new arrangement won’t affect filibusters on laws or Supreme Court nominations, but rather the widespread filibusters of judicial and executive nominees….
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