If you really want to see a graphic example of how the esteemed, august body of the U.S. Senate works and why it is broken you need to force yourself to watch this March 10, 2016, hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee as they debate whether or not to hold a Constitutionally required hearing to consider a nominee of the President to fulfill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court in the remaining term of President Obama.
What is important is to note how the Republicans rationalize there decision not to hold a hearing based on the practices of Democrats in the past on previous similar situations. The Democrats make there stand based on the Constitution and the requirements of the President to make an appointment and the Senate to "advise and consent" by holding a hearing on the nomination and then make a recommendation and forward it to the full Senate for a vote.
There is a constant theme that if the Democrats were in power they would do the same thing and discussions of how when the Democrats were in power they altered and bent the rules to suit their purposes -- so we (Republicans) can do it too.
This is the critical dilemma and the reason the system is broken. It is also the reason the Senators -- Democrats and Republicans -- cannot solve the problem. Laws, rules, procedures, policies, history -- and the Constitution itself -- are interpreted, altered and contorted to fit the party in power.
This is what the Senate Judiciary Committee website indicates is its responsibility:
- "When a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court, the President of the United States is given the authority, under Article II of the United States Constitution, to nominate a person to fill the vacancy. The nomination is referred to the United States Senate, where the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing where the nominee provides testimony and responds to questions from members of the panel. Traditionally, the Committee refers the nomination to the full Senate for consideration." [https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/supreme-court]