When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic majority blew up two centuries of Senate practice by repealing the filibuster on most presidential nominees, they killed a key procedural protection for the rights of minorities.
Whereas before 60 votes were required to end debate on a nominee, now only a simply majority of 51 senators can silence opponents and force a final vote for or against confirmation.
The 60-vote threshold forced supporters and opponents of a nomination to temper their views, thus encouraging reasonable compromise rather than straight-up all-or-nothing votes that can enable a majority to tyrannize a minority. That’s the theory anyway.
Here’s the first example:
Late last week, Senate Democrats confirmed Cornelia Pillard to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. “That makes two additional Obama nominees on the court with the lightest workload, and it gives leftists a 6-4 advantage on the court that hears most challenges to executive actions,” according to the Patriot Post.
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