By a 52-48 vote, with three Democrats voting with all Senate Republicans, Harry Reid triggered the "nuclear option," changing Senate rules to allow simple-majority votes on presidential nominees other than Supreme Court justices. The rule change will not apply to legislation.
Even the way the rule change was done -- itself by a simple majority -- is unusual.
The little bit that was left of the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together in "the world's greatest deliberative body" is now dead and buried.
This may sell well with the Democrats' radical base, but it will even further drive away moderates and independents, despite the left's cries of "Republican obstructionism made us do it."
The key purpose of the Democrats' move is to be able to add multiple liberal judges to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most important court in the nation because it hears most appeals of rules and regulations by government agencies.
The court has had a low work-load for several years, obviating the need for new judges to be appointed. The Democrats' obsession with the court is simply to add more leftists in order to increase the chance that any particular federal over-reaching is more likely to succeed if ruled upon by judges who do not believe in limited government or liberty.
A perfect recent example was a 3-judge panel opinion written by Janice Rogers Brown (whom I've previously described as perhaps the best judge in America) ruling unconstitutional Obamacare's birth control mandate to the extent that it conflicts with religious objections.
The left's reaction to the obviously correct answer (and I say that as an atheist Jew) is to change (which is to say break) Senate rules in order to pack the court with their Nanny State-supporting toadies.
Today's actions by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are reprehensible, but expected -- and perfectly within character for the increasingly radical, and decreasingly popular, party he represents.