At stake: Bush's ability to steer the courts in a more conservative direction.
That's not what is at stake here, folks. President Bush has appointed over two hundred judges, and only ten have been blocked by the Democrats; so to pretend that unless these ten get their up-or-down vote (itself a brand spanking new item of principle for Republicans, apparently) the President will simply have to settle for a liberal court system is absurd. The judicial aspect of George W. Bush's political agenda will not be hopelessly derailed if he doesn't get these ten judges on the court. In the greater scheme of things, this is a minor issue elevated to Grand Battle Status.