Activist judges [read SCOTUS here] have been joined by obstructionist legislators since the 110th Congress took office in January. Their objections always take the form of using procedural votes to stop legislation that is under consideration.
In the Senate, these procedural votes are to avoid cloture - stopping discussion on a bill to call for a full vote, i.e. filibuster. As long as a filibuster is going on no vote on a measure may be taken and a filibuster can continue indefinitely. The Republicans know that most bills only need a majority vote and would pass with the Democrats in control and a few of their fellow Reps joining them.
Cloture, on the other hand, requires 60 votes and would end a filibuster so that the voting could happen. In effect, since the minority knows that the Dems wouldn't have the required 60 votes to end a filibuster, it is a way of "killing" a bill procedurally without a decision being made.
In the last Congress, when the Republicans were in charge, they cried foul any time the Democrats began to discuss filibuster. They threatened to use what Trent Lott referred to as the nuclear option. In other words, doing away with filibuster. They backed the Dems into a corner every single time.
Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Republicans don't hesitate to use the treat of filibuster. Since January, they have objected at least 23 times. To get an idea of what legislation was involved, watch the video below.
our tax dollars at work...
our freedoms and lives at stake...