Norm Ornstein on the new practice of routinely filibustering or placing holds on executive branch appointments:
The partisan nature of the confirmation process has even worse side effects when it comes to executive nominees — in this case going beyond defeating some to simply preventing them from getting into their offices for as long as possible. Way too many nominations are hung up by pernicious anonymous holds (the perniciousness is not just in the anonymity but in the holds themselves). Others get subjected to the threat of filibuster, raising the bar for many executive posts from 50 to 60.
The old norm that a president is entitled to his choices for executive branch posts unless there is some huge and significant problem has been completely shattered, to the grave detriment of basic governance.
Electoral politics is inherently competitive. In the long run, you can't rely on norms to prevent parties form using the rules to their advantage.