The U.S. Senate remained in session overnight debating executive nominations as Republicans protested Democrats’ recent move to change chamber rules to require a simple majority vote to confirm presidential nominations, excepting U.S. Supreme Court nominations.
President Obama hailed the vote, pointing out that for the first time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will have five active female judges on the bench.
“Throughout her career, Ms. Pillard has displayed an unwavering commitment to justice and integrity,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Her landmark accomplishments on behalf of women and families include Supreme Court cases defending the constitutionality of the Family and Medical Leave Act and opening the doors of the Virginia Military Institute to female students. I’m confident she will be a diligent, thoughtful and judicious addition to the D.C. Circuit.”
The Senate also voted 54-41 just before 9:30 a.m. Thursday to confirm Chai Rachel Feldblum as a member of the Equal Opportunity Commission.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, threatened to keep senators in town up until the weekend — even mentioning the possibility of bumping up into the Christmas holiday — to get nominees through if the GOP kept insisting on delays.
“Republicans insist on wasting time simply for the sake of wasting time,” Mr. Reid said Wednesday.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, said that “extremist nominees” like Ms. Pillard are precisely the reason Democrats moved to change the rules last month to do away with the 60-vote filibuster threshold for certain nominations.
“He’s spending a week here on non-essential nominations,” Mr. McConnell said of Mr. Reid.
The chamber has been in session since 2 p.m. Wednesday debating nominations, with various senators holding the floor overnight.