Sen. John McCain spent the weekend negotiating with Majority Leader Harry Reid on a deal to avert Reid's threatened use of the "nuclear option" to change Senate rules to eliminate filibusters on Presidential nominations. Through his efforts, McCain was able to secure a complete GOP capitulation on 7 pending nominations. Reid secured all the benefits of exercising the "nuclear option" without the political cost of actually using it.
Under the McCain deal, the GOP will provide enough votes to secure the 60 votes needed for cloture and proceed to final consideration of the 7 nominees. In exchange, Reid agreed to replace two current union attorney nominees with two alternative union attorney nominees. McCain's swift surrender ensures that the "nuclear option" is a permanent fixture of the nomination process.