Just before Thanksgiving, Congressional Democrats voted to end the 60 vote majority required to end a filibuster of a Presidential nomination. They had to do this because Senate Republicans were refusing to allow a vote on three very well-qualified nominees for the very influential DC Circuit of the Federal Court of Appeals. Republicans claimed the President was attempting to “pack” the court (a la FDR in the 1930s), but their sense of history was misguided. FDR sought to create new seats on the U.S. Supreme Court to dilute the existing Justices’ voting power.
President Obama is only trying to fill existing seats on the court– seats that George Bush filled during his term. If the people later vote in a Republican President, then he or she will get to name conservative judges to the courts, and if the people have also voted in a Republican Senate, then all of these nominees will be easily confirmed unless they have serious skeletons in their closets. If Democrats control the White House and the Senate, as is the case now, they get their picks. That’s Democracy!