The July 4th congressional recess’s pause in 2014’s record pace of judicial confirmations is a good time to explore the reason for the upsurge.
The 54 confirmations at 2014’s half-way point compare to 43 in all of 2013. What’s behind the increase? Some have said that the Senate’s November 2013 rules change—to allow a simple majority to end filibusters on most nominees—“has resulted in [the] sharp increase.” There is a lot of appeal (and even a little truth) to the claim, but beware the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy that if “B” follows “A”, “A” necessarily caused “B”.
There have been 61 confirmations since November 21. The rules change clearly enabled three of them. Late October and mid-November filibusters of three D.C. circuit appellate nominees were the immediate cause of the change, which in turn allowed their post-November confirmations.