Since President Obama took office, Republicans have used the filibuster an average of 14.4 times per year to block his nominations. That is 50 times higher than the 1952-2008 average, and more than 14 times higher than during the administration of President George W. Bush. It is a shame that the Republicans brought things to this pass. The filibuster is a useful tool to prevent a president whose party controls the Senate from pushing through the nomination of an appointee who is incompetent, who lacks integrity or whose views are truly outside the "mainstream" of respectable opinion. That we have now lost that important safeguard is deeply unfortunate. But the responsibility for this development rests squarely on the shoulders of the Republican members of the Senate, who have brought this not only upon themselves, but upon the nation. It is a sad day for America.