News broke yesterday from the Senate: "Rand Paul is officially holding Janet Yellin's nomination until Harry Reid agrees to hold a vote on auditing the Fed."
This strikes me as a more or less proper use of a hold, and demonstrates the merits of retaining holds on executive branch nominations.
I like that Paul is specifically attempting to influence the institution involved in this particular nomination. I like that he's not making an unreasonable demand; he's asking, apparently, for a vote, not an outright policy concession (I don't know whether he's asking for a protected, majority-wins vote or just getting to the point of a cloture vote; the latter would certainly be a very reasonable ask). I like that this is a policy which he's personally interested in; this isn't really a partisan hold.
Just to clarify: I'm not taking a position on whether Paul's audit deserves a vote, let alone whether it's a good policy choice. What I am taking a position on is that this is basically how Congress is supposed to work -- it's supposed to be possible for individual Senators, even from the minority party, to be able to take meaningful policy initiatives.
Now, the flip side of this is that Harry Reid does need to bring this one to the floor, and he's going to be willing to spend floor time on it; in fact, he may do that regardless of this hold. Sixty Senators can always overcome a hold, albeit at the cost of floor time, and ultimately Reid isn't going to be stopped from moving forward on it because one Senator wants something. However, my guess (and the above is all the reporting I've seen on it) is that Paul has at least a fair chance of getting what he wants.
All of this is why I support simple-majority cloture on executive branch nominations, as opposed to eliminating filibusters (and with them, presumably, holds) entirely. Technically, the Majority Leader could agree to respect holds even if they had no leverage at all behind them, but realistically I very much doubt that holds could survive the end of cloture.