Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer, Harry Reid and Richard Durbin (from left) speak after Senate Democrats voted to take the bite out of the filibuster. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (from left), Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois defend the Senate Democrats' vote Thursday to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Jimmy Stewart in a scene from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP