It should never have come to this. But we commend the 14 senators whose eleventh-hour agreement has ended a reckless exercise in nuclear brinkmanship. In preserving the judicial filibuster they have spared the Senate and our republic from a dangerous detour into the uncharted waters of one-party rule.
But this victory comes at a heavy price: the near-certain confirmation of at least three nominees whose contempt for constitutional liberties and disregard of precedent make them manifestly unworthy of judicial office.
While the fate of the remaining nominees remains uncertain, at least two of them will be subject to a filibuster and a cloture vote, and presumably these and certain other nominees will be defeated if they cannot muster the support of 60 senators.
The success of this fragile compromise will depend upon the good faith of senators on both sides, and on the willingness of the White House to desist from the confrontational behavior that precipitated this crisis.
As the country awaits a likely vacancy on the Supreme Court, we hope that the president will take to heart the advice he has been given by these senators: "to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration." Only then can the Senate perform its proper role of ensuring that nominees will uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.
John D. Podesta is the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.