- Michigan man among first in U.S. to get ‘bionic eye’
- JetBlue pilots vote to unionize; 2 previous attempts failed
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with ‘full-time’ robots
- Navy’s military dolphins may meet Putin’s porpoises in Black Sea
- Forget the Porsche — it’s the guy with the Prius that attracts the ladies, poll shows
- Fired Russian Facebook CEO says site has fallen in the hands of pro-Putin supporters
- Sen. Boozman of Arkansas has emergency heart surgery
- Brazil embraces drones to save the Amazon rain forest
- Teen stowaway shows holes in vast airport security
- Supreme Court to decide if passports can say ‘Jerusalem, Israel’
GOP eyes ‘shutdown’ of Senate over judges
Republican leaders yesterday threatened a “total shutdown” of Senate business if Democrats keep holding up President Bush’s appointments to the federal bench.
“It could cause major meltdown,” Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, said after Democrats postponed a committee vote on the nomination of Leslie H. Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
Mr. Lott said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, was “very mad” about judicial appointments and could bring the narrowly divided chamber to a standstill if Democrats don’t speed up the confirmation process.
“It could be total shutdown here pretty soon.”
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and member of the Judiciary Committee, said the delay on Mr. Southwick, a former Mississippi state appellate judge, was par for the course.
“It is clear that the Democrats intend to slow walk judicial nominations and throw up as many roadblocks as they possibly can,” Mr. Cornyn said.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Mr. Southwick deserved more scrutiny due to his potentially racist and homophobic rulings.
Mr. Leahy bristled at the Republican threat of shutdown.
“They should say that to me if they feel that way,” he said. “Look at the record. I’ve moved the nominees much faster … than either of the two [previous] Republican chairmen. Numbers are pesky little things. It is a fact.”
Mr. Leahy was referring to the 20 circuit court nominations confirmed by the Senate during his tenure as chairman for roughly two years, counting the five months of the current session and the combined 17 months from the 108th Congress and part of the 107th Congress when control switched midsession.
The former chairman, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, presided during two years in which 16 circuit court judges were confirmed, according to tallies provided by Mr. Leahy’s office.
At the time, Republicans struggled as the majority to pass Mr. Bush’s appointments over Democratic filibusters.
Since Democrats took control of Congress in January, the Senate has confirmed three of Mr. Bush’s nine circuit court nominations and 15 of his 38 district court nominees, according to the Justice Department.
Mr. Leahy’s office counted eight circuit court nominees handed up by Mr. Bush, since the president nominated Norman Randy Smith to two different posts on the U.S. Circuit Court for the 9th District before he was confirmed.
The Senate confirms an average of 17 circuit court judges in a session, moving at a rate of about one per month when in session.
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, renegade
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- IRS revokes conservative group's tax-exempt status over anti-Clinton statements: report
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- ORTEL: Putin sees opportunities as Obama turns away
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Supreme Court upholds Michigan affirmative action ban
- Michelle Obama: Obama family Sundays are more for napping than church
- Bonuses given to IRS employes who owed back taxes
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.