- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Judicial nominees sitting on sidelines
19 vacancies have OK of Senate committee
As if Congress didn’t have enough on its plate this hectic lame duck session — the “fiscal cliff,” Benghazi probes and the farm bill to name a few — the Senate is facing an escalating backlog of pending federal judicial nominations that the legal community says is hurting the justice system.
Senate leaders say they hope to act on many of the nominations by the end of the year. The list grew longer last week when the White House sent the chamber nominations for seven district court and one court of international trade judgeships that are vacant.
Yet the busy late-year calendar and partisan bickering means more than a handful of open judgeships may remain unfilled by the new year.
When Congress recessed in September for several weeks ahead of the November elections, they left behind 19 judicial nominations that had been approved by the SenateJudiciary Committee but that were awaiting final Senate action. Most are noncontroversial, as 17 received bipartisan support in the committee and seven have support from Republican home-state senators.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, used this rationale to lead a filibuster in July to block the nomination of Robert E. Bacharach for the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court. Democrats said it was the first time in Senate history a judicial nominee who cleared the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support had been blocked on the floor.
With Mr. Obama’s re-election this month, Democrats say it’s time for Republicans to drop their “obstructionism” and act fast on the president’s nominees.
“There is no justification for holding up final Senate action on these judicial nominations,” SenateJudiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said last week. “These are not judgeships that Republicans can claim they wish to keep open in order to be filled by nominees from President Obama’s successor next year.”
“Delay for delay’s sake is wrong and should end.”
But Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the SenateJudiciary Committee, pushed back, saying the Senate has been “more than fair” to the president by confirming 160 of his nominations, including two of his Supreme Court picks. By contrast, he said the Senate confirmed only 122 of President George W. Bush’s nominees during a similar time frame.
The committee’s Democratic office has a different perspective. It says the Senate’s 78 percent confirmation rate of Obama judicial nominations (160 confirmed out of 206 total nominations) is lower than the 87 percent confirmation rate Mr. Bush enjoyed during the same period of his presidency (200 confirmed out of 231 total nominations).
Senate Democrats say the confirmation percentage for Obama administration nominees is the lowest of any president in the past 36 years.
Judicial nominees require a simple majority of the Senate’s 100 members for confirmation. They don’t need House approval.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow