Tim Grieve explains Everything you wanted to know about the "nuclear option" in this Salon article.
"What's the "nuclear option"?
It's Frist's plan to change the Standing Rules of the Senate in order to prohibit Democrats from using the filibuster to block votes on Bush's judicial nominees. Under the current rules, senators in the minority can indefinitely delay a floor vote on judges -- or on just about anything else, for that matter -- by engaging in extended debate . . . With the nuclear option, Frist and his supporters would effectively change that rule so that filibusters on judicial nominees could be cut off by a simple majority vote."