Senate majorities have long wanted to rein in filibusters for presidential nominations. So why now? The GOP assertion that it's an Obamacare diversion might not be entirely off the mark, but Democrats' frustration with gridlock appear to have peaked.
There are 18 vacancies on federal appeals courts nationwide, but perhaps most significantly, the new Senate filibuster rule allows Obama and Democrats to fill three seats on the D.C. Circuit, the nation's second most powerful court.