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They are used to keep senators from a simple majority vote, to keep the senate from simple majority rule, and to keep the equivalent of a veto in the hands of a senate minority. The words, "Nuclear Option" are meant to strike fear into the listener, as if fire and brimstone will rain down if the majority has the courage to simply works its will.
Today on Nevada NPR, Harry Reid suggested he's open to reconsidering his position on changing the filibuster procedure in the senate, changing the rules to allow for an up or down vote on judicial nominees. It shouldn't be just up to him, but we all know his views are crucial here, so it's progress. He should have figured out by now that he's standing in the way of history, and the junior membership won't tolerate that indefinitely.
Preventing democracy from working is a subversion of the constitution, and anyone who's ever passed a fifth grade civics class knows it. It's not just the judicial nominations, but others as well.
That we have over 80 federal judgeships vacant, and other department heads waiting to be confirmed and freshman GOP senators feeling their oats by holding up whatever action they can on the senate floor just because they can, it's time for some sanity to be restored to the process.
Restore majority rule. Restore simple majority votes on all nominees, with talking filibusters only and strict limitations on debate. End the secret holds.