In an article at Foxnews.com on possible Supreme Court nominations, C. Boyden Gray, former counsel to the first President Bush said
the following about the filibuster rules in the Senate ...
As it stands today [Democrats] can block [a nominee] ... But I also believe that the president and majority leader may well decide to change the rules given the elections ... The president has a very strong political support, potential support, for asking for and getting this change.
What does this mean exactly?
Certainly, a reelected president with an expanded senate majority has a lot more <$NoAd$> leverage to get his judicial nominees confirmed. There's no getting around that. And it will be very difficult for Democrats to hold their whole caucus together to stymie a judicial appointment with a filibuster. Moreover, the 60 vote rule, on the merits, is subject to a lot of very valid criticism.
But what is it about the president's victory on Tuesday that provides a moral authority or logic to changing the rules
under which nominations are now approved?
This is a critical difference.
Democrats have to deal with the fact that President Bush is now no longer a minority president, however slim his majority may have been. They also need to contend with his expanded senate majorities.
But this is what I fear will be a growing pattern in this second term: an effort to use a narrowly secured majority not only to govern, even govern aggressively, but to make institutional changes that strip away the existing powers and rights of large minorities. These formal and informal checks and balances constitute the governmental soft-tissue that allows our political system to function.
An earlier example of this was the DeLay double-dip redistricting from last year. I believe we'll see much more. And it's a pattern that everyone should be watching closely.