Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Richard Pacelle, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, to find some answers.
The Senate has voted to overturn decades of precedent by eliminating a rule that allows a minority to block final votes.
In a 52-48 vote, Senate Democrats threw out the rule, which can require a 60-vote majority to assure a yes-or-no vote on presidential nominees to the courts, Cabinet departments or other agencies.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who launched the move, accused Republicans of obstructing President Barack Obama’s nominees and said the Senate has to change “before this institution becomes obsolete.”
Supreme Court nominations would be exempted from the change.
To hear the interview with NPR’s David Welna, click the audio at the top of the page.