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By limiting the ability of Republicans to block President Barack Obama's nominees, Senate Democrats sought to placate the party's core liberal activists dispirited by the troubled rollout of the health care overhaul and government snooping ahead of midterm elections in which a president's party typically loses seats in Congress.Republicans insist that the move engineered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday won't matter in next year's congressional races as the political fallout over Obama's health care law registers with voters. Senate Democrats voted unilaterally to change the Senate's filibuster practices and take away the minority party's ability to block presidential nominees for key appellate judgeships and top federal agency posts with just 40 or 41 votes.With the change, Democrats scored points with liberal groups that can deliver money and mobilization in 2014 congressional races with control of the House and 21 Democratic and 14 Republican Senate seats at stake. Seven of the those Senate seats now held by Democrats are in states that Obama lost in 2012 to Republican Mitt Romney, some by 15 percentage points or more."Senate Democrats have rightly reformed the filibuster, and the grassroots base of the Democratic Party have their back for taking this important stand," said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the 1.2 million-strong Democracy for America. The group tends to favor challengers, but Chamberlain said in an interview that the rules change would be a factor in endorsements and support.