Filibustering and Fielding:
Let's try this perspective on the judicial filibuster: If you're playin' softball - amateur hour softball, but league play - you're gonna know that the opposing team has some strengths and weaknesses. Maybe your opponent has one helluva a right fielder - motherfucker can leap like a gazelle to catch fly balls that oughta be out of the park. And an arm that can get you tagged out at home in a single throw. If you're a decent team, when you're at bat, you know: don't hit to right field. If you hit to right field, chances are you're gettin' sent back to the bench. And you don't need to be told every time you're up to bat not to hit to right field. You just know it.

So, using this hangover Sunday analogy, the filibuster has been there in the Senate rules, so maybe the threat of the judicial filibuster has always existed, and because of that the President would nominate judges that at least had a chance of overcoming that implicit threat. The "civility" was not, in fact, because of Senatorial deference to the President's nominees, but it was, instead, presidential understanding that the executive and legislative branches are equally powerful in our system of government. In other words, the civility was a product of a President who wanted to maintain civility. The President broke the deal, not the minority party.

And now, ignoring previous Republican holds and filibusters of nominees to the federal bench, the executive branch is so devoted to disempowering the other branches of government that George W. Bush (no doubt in collaboration with right wing Senataors) decided on judicial nominees that would lead to the filibusters, and thus provide an opportunity to fuck up the balance of powers permanently.

In other words, if the Republicans were the at-bat softball team, they'd try to change the rules of the game to say that there couldn't even be right fielders.