Obama's judicial nominees being pushed through the Senate at fast clip
The Senate barely does anything these days — except approve judges that could shape the law for a generation.
Since Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) changed Senate rules in November to ease the approval of most of President Barack Obama’s nominees, Democrats have churned through confirmations of dozens of new judges — giving them lifetime appointments that will extend the administration’s influence for years to come. Over a roughly equivalent period during the 113th Congress, the Senate confirmed 36 district and circuit court judges before the rules change and 68 after, according to Senate statistics.
Republicans have fought Democrats at every step, using their remaining procedural tools to stymie quick approval of judges and many executive branch nominees whose sway over regulations are magnified by today’s congressional stalemate. But the days of epic confirmation fights are over now because all nominees — save for those to the Supreme Court — need only a bare majority for approval after Democrats used the unilateral “nuclear option” to change the rules. . . .Of course, the comparison of 36 to 68 is quite misleading as it takes a while at the beginning of every Congress to get the judicial nomination process up to speed.
UPDATE: The WSJ has this discussion on court packing.