I will begin by saying that I am the last one in the world to bemoan Congressional "gridlock". I have this argument all the time, but I just don't see that we Americans are facing some imminent shortage of laws and so lack of productive lawmaking by Congress doesn't pose any great problem for me. And gridlock certainly is not an adequate reason for rule by Presidential fiat, as I have seen argued a number of times in the past couple of years. There is no Constitutional clause allowing Executive action if Congress won't pass the President's preferred legislation. The narrow party split in Congress is a reflection of a real split in American voters -- gridlock on particular issues in Congress will pass, as it always has, when the electorate coalesces into a majority on the issue.
All that being said, I have always thought that the Senate's advice and consent functions should be exempt from the filibuster. Presidential appointments need to get an up or down vote in some reasonable amount of time. It is fine if the Senate wants to say "no" to a particular judge or appointment, but there needs to be a vote. I say this obviously in the context of the current Supreme Court vacancy. I am almost certain not to like Obama's appointment, so I say this now before I get tempted to move off my principles here in the exigency of politics. But not voting on a Supreme Court nominee for a full year is just stupid (btw Republicans, for all your love of the Constitution, show me anywhere in the document where it says "lame duck" presidents have less power). If Republicans want to run out the clock by voting down one candidate after another, then they can of course do that, and suffer the political consequences -- positive or negative -- of doing so. And suffer the future precedent as well (if a one year wait is the precedent now, what about 2, or 4, next time?) If Republicans wanted to pick Supreme Court nominees in 2016, they should have won the last Presidential election.
Politics is a multi-round game that goes on for decades and centuries. This is one reason the filibuster still exists. Both parties have come achingly close to eliminating it when they had slim majorities in the Senate, but both walked away in part because this was a move that worked for one round of the game (whatever vote was at hand) but has downsides in a multi-round game (where one's party will be in the Senate minority again and will want the filibuster back). It just infuriates me that the current participants in this game seem bent on making decisions that seem indifferent to future rounds of the game. GWB and Obama have both done this with expansions of executive power - the Left is cheering Obama on to govern by fiat but will they really be happy with these precedents in a, for example, Cruz administration? Ditto now with the Republicans and trying to run a full year off the clock on a Supreme Court nomination.
Postscript: By the way, the very fact a Supreme Court nomination is so politically radioactive is a sign of a basic governmental failure in and of itself. The libertarian argument is that by giving the government so much power to intervene in so many ways that creates winners and losers by legislative diktat, we have raised the stakes of minutes points of law to previously unimaginable levels. In a world where the government is not empowered to micro-manage our lives, a Supreme Court nomination would be as interesting as naming the postmaster general.