WASHINGTON (AP) — First, Senate Democrats shackled the traditional ability of the minority party — that's Republicans now — to block nominations.
Now, Democrats are ready to muscle President Barack Obama's picks for pivotal judgeships and other top jobs through the Senate.
With the Senate returning from a Thanksgiving recess, Monday's session will be the first test of how GOP senators react to last month's Democratic power play.
Republicans will be able to slow, but not derail, Obama's appointments. But old-time rules governing legislation and other Senate activities remain unchanged.
That means that Republicans, if they choose, can grind work to a near-halt — just as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping to use the year's final two-week session to finish a defense bill, a modest budget deal and other lingering business.