Judicial nominations haven't been at the forefront of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's tenure so far in the U.S. Senate. She's not on the Judiciary Committee, and most of her work has been focused on the committee on which she does sit—Banking. From that perch, she's proven herself committed to being the populist watchdog she promised she would be in her campaign.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that when Warren blasted the latest Republican filibuster of a judicial nominee, she framed the debate [pdf] in the terms of economic power.
Republicans now hold the dubious distinction of having filibustered all three women that President Obama nominated to D.C. Circuit. Now, collectively, these three women have diverse experiences in private practice, in government, and in public interest law. Between them, they have argued an amazing 45 cases before the Supreme Court, and have participated in many more. All three have the support of a majority of Senators. So why have they been filibustered?On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader filed a motion for a cloture vote on the nomination of Richard Wilkins, the third of President Obama's D.C. Circuit nominees. Republicans have already blocked two women, Patricia Millett and Nina Pillard, setting up a vote for early next week. They will block Wilkins, not because he's not qualified to sit on the court, but because they don't want this court to have any more Obama appointees because, as Warren says, these appointees could thwart the ambitious of big business.
The reason is simple. They are caught in a fight over the future of our courts—fight over whether the courts will be a neutral forum that decides every dispute fairly, or whether the courts will be stacked in favor of the wealthy and the powerful. [...] The D.C. Circuit is a particular target because that court has the power to overturn agency regulations. If a business doesn’t like it when the agencies implement the will of Congress, they try to undermine those agencies through the D.C. Circuit. [...]
We need to call out these filibusters for what they are: naked attempts to nullify the results of the last Presidential election—to force us to govern as though President Obama hadn’t won the 2012 election. [...]
If Republicans continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees for no reason other than to nullify the President’s Constitutional authority, then senators not only have a right to change the filibuster rules—senators have a duty to change the filibuster rules.
That will be one more filibuster Harry Reid can use to convince Democratic senators that it is, as Warren says, their duty to change the filibuster rules.