Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: Specter Defection Will Haunt Dems On Souter Replacement
But ironically, Specter's defection may give Republicans the ability to filibuster judicial nominees at the Judiciary Committee level, so the nominees never get out of committee.
Huh, you say. Here's the explanation, from Professor Michael Dorf of Cornell Law School at his excellent blog, Dorf on Law, written two days ago before Souter's retirement was in play:
"Does Arlen Specter's defection from R to D strengthen the President's hand in Congress? Perhaps overall but not on judicial appointments because breaking (the equivalent of) a filibuster in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. Before today, Specter was likely to be that one Republican. Now what?"