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Of those, Mr. Johnson was easily confirmed to his post. Mr. Jones managed to overcome a filibuster under the old rules, but Mr. Watt was pushed through the chamber after Mr. Reid changed the filibuster rules.

The final vote was 52-47 to block Mr. Adegbile. Mr. Reid voted for the filibuster as a procedural move to allow a re-vote.

Mr. Adegbile is the first of Mr. Obama’s nominees to be blocked since Mr. Reid forced the filibuster rules change in November. Before that, it took 60 votes to overcome a filibuster — a threshold that Democrats couldn’t reach if all Republicans stuck together.

But after the rules change, almost all nominees now need just a majority vote to overcome a filibuster.

Under the new rules, Democrats have forced through more than 40 nominees, including several who would have been blocked under the old rules.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the vote shows just how outside the mainstream the Adegbile pick was, given that Democrats couldn’t even muster their own members. He said if the 60-vote rules were in place, Mr. Obama wouldn’t have even tried to nominate Mr. Adegbile.

“I know there was a temptation here obviously on his part to send this nominee up, but he was too difficult for even seven Democrats to swallow,” Mr. McConnell said. “We need to get the Senate back to normal.”

Mr. Reid imposed the rules change as punishment against Republicans who, he said, had taken filibustering of Mr. Obama’s nominees to new levels. Now, Mr. Reid can overcome those filibusters by keeping his own troops in line.

In retaliation, Republicans have forced Mr. Reid to run the full procedural traps on many nominees who would have cleared without trouble before the rules change.

Indeed, before the rules change, 78 percent of all nominees confirmed were approved by voice vote. But in the 3½ months since the rules change, just 29 percent have been confirmed on voice vote.

“You could argue they have not gained a whole lot by establishing this unfortunate precedent,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. Reid, though, said Republicans’ opposition was based on worries that Mr. Adegbile would be too effective at the Justice Department. He accused Republicans of trying to prevent some people from voting and said Mr. Adegbile would have stopped those efforts as head of the civil rights division.

Mr. McConnell said Mr. Adegbile had a long history of “left-wing advocacy” that would politicize the civil rights division. He said the nominee argued that it was “radical” to think the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual’s right to bear arms and opposed voter identification requirements.

The Supreme Court has rejected both of those stances.

The seven Democrats who voted to filibuster Mr. Adegbile were Mr. Casey and Sens. Christopher A. Coons of Delaware, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Mark L. Pryor of Arkansas and John E. Walsh of Montana.

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