At last, Harry Reid has concluded that the Senate cannot function with an effective 60-vote threshold for confirming nominees, when the his Republican colleagues are using their minority power to undo basic Constitutional processes. Instead of whomping up the usual insincere objections to individual nominees, the Senate GOP has decided that this President will not be allowed to fill any of the vacancies on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. So he’s going nuclear, and he thinks he has the votes. (The record suggests that Reid is pretty good at counting.)

I’m on record as saying that a mid-session change in the filibuster rule made by simple majority vote is a breach of the Senate rules. So be it. Extraordinary abuses demand extraordinary remedies. A asymmetric political process, where one side respects convention and the other systematically abuses whatever power it has, is not sustainable.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.