Thursday, March 17, 2016

Senate Republicans Are Blocking Obama's Judges at a Nearly Unprecedented Rate

If the media were liberal, as some claim, when they report on Republicans vow to block President Obama from making a supreme court nomination this year, they would mention the mass blocking they have done since President Obama's first election. Even when the Senate had a majority of Democrats, Republicans were using filibusters and holds to block his nominations. Note that NPR has not mentioned this, despite the nutty claims that it is "liberal".

By Patrick Caldwell | Wed Nov. 4, 2015


The Senate has confirmed just nine judges nominated by President Obama so far this year. It's the slowest pace of confirmations in more than half a century, on track to match the 11 confirmations in 1960.

"It's still like pulling teeth to move nominations," says a senior Democratic Senate aide. "They're being held by a number of different Republican senators for every reason under the sun. None of which have anything to do with the actual qualifications of the nominees."

With Republicans in charge of both branches of Congress, odds are slim that Obama will sign major domestic legislation during the last two years of his presidency. Even keeping the government's lights on and selecting a new House speaker have required protracted fights in this dysfunctional Congress. But judges are still one area where a hamstrung president can leave a mark, as district and circuit court judges who win confirmation receive a lifetime appointment.

It's not unusual for a president to get fewer nominations through the Senate as the end of a White House term nears and the opposition party begins to dream of winning the next presidential election and tapping the judges it prefers. But the current rate is far off from the historical norm. According to the liberal Alliance for Justice, by this point in 2007, when Democrats controlled the Senate, 34 of President George W. Bush's judges had been confirmed.


Republicans have been gumming up the works at each step of the process. Judicial nominations are generally put forward by the president only once they've been approved by both of the home-state senators. Republicans have been slow to give their consent to any nominee, with 55 judicial vacancies currently lacking a nomination. "If you look where these empty seats are, they're almost all in states with at least one Republican senator," says the Alliance for Justice's Kyle Barry.


Even after a judicial nominee has cleared the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been slow about scheduling votes on the Senate floor, where 11 nominees are awaiting confirmation. The delays generally haven't been due to controversy about the nominees. The last two judges confirmed, for district court seats in New York, were approved by votes of 95-2 and 88-0, respectively.

tags: obstuctionism

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