Perhaps I am naive, but I think the U.S. Senate has the potential of being able to walk and chew gum at the same time.
The Democratic controlled Senate can control its own calendar - what matters are scheduled for votes. The GOP may filibuster particular matters, but Sen. Reid can place items on the calendar for votes.
I am concerned with the slow pace of Pres Obama's efforts to fill U.S. federal district court and federal courts of appeals vacancies since he took office in 2009. Worse, Sen. Harry Reid and the Senate Judiciary Committee have been slow to act on the nominations Pres Obama has made. Federal judges serve essentially for lifetime, and a Democratic President can shape the federal courts for decades with the women and men he nominates - and gets confirmed - to the federal courts.
Let's hold Sen. Reid (and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Leahy) accountable - on a weekly basis could we see Daily Kos reports of how many federal district court and federal courts of appeals judgeships are vacant, how many nominations Chairman Leahy has reported out of committee for action by the full Senate and how many nominations Sen. Reid has brought forward for a confirmation vote.
There is a web site that reports on this - www.ballotnews.org - but I think it would be helpful if Daily Kos with its huge readership (including those in the MSM) also highlighted this matter. Perhaps the sunlight on the pace of federal judicial nominations would embarrass Senators Leahy and Reid (and Pres Obama) into acting more promptly.
Keep in mind that the judges (hopefully many youngish progressive ones who can serve on the federal bench for decades) confirmed will affect many aspects of our lives and our rights far into the future.
The vacancies that a President Obama and Democratic Senate fail to fill now and in coming years could become federal judges that a future President Ted Cruz, Rand Paul or Rick Santorum appoint and confirm.
As of May 1, 2013, 82 (nearly 10%!!) of the authorized federal district court (65 vacancies out of 680 total) and federal courts of appeals (16 vacancies of 179 total) (the "Article III posts") judgeships are vacant - and waiting for a Pres Obama judge - OR - a future Pres Cruz/Paul/Santorum judge.