The Washington Post reports:
The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn Thursday, as Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.
I think it is good the filibuster is gone, as you should be able to confirm appointments with a majority. However by unilaterally changing the rules, the Democrats have started what may be a chain of events which means that in future the majority will be able to do anything it wants.
In NZ standing orders generally only change if there is unanimous approval. The standing orders generally protect the minority, and Governments know one day they will be in opposition and then be protected by standing orders.
The Democrats will enjoy having got rid of the filibuster while they hold the White House and the Senate. But at some stage the Republicans will hold both, and then they may regret their decision greatly.
The change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations. But the vote, mostly along party lines, reverses nearly 225 years of precedent and dramatically alters the landscape for both Democratic and Republican presidents, especially if their own political party holds a majority of, but fewer than 60, Senate seats.
It is inevitable that supreme court nominations will in time lose the filibuster also.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned Democrats against the rule change on Wednesday, saying that if the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority, Republicans would further alter the rules to include Supreme Court nominees, so that Democrats could not filibuster a Republican pick for the nation’s highest court.
The vote to change the rule passed 52 to 48. Three Democrats — Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) — joined 45 Republicans in opposing the measure. Levin is a longtime senator who remembers well the years when Democratic filibusters blocked nominees of Republican presidents; Manchin and Pryor come from Republican-leaning states.
I’m no fan of the filibuster, but both sides have used it in recent years.