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Some of the work that David W talks about that isn't getting done with our broken Senate is breaking the third branch. Ian Millhiser writes for the Center for American Progress,

American presidents for more than three decades have enjoyed judicial confirmation rates near or above 80 percent. This pattern persists across both Democratic and Republican administrations, and it includes presidents who presided over a period of unified government (Jimmy Carter), presidents whose party did not at any point control the Senate during their presidency (George Bush I), and presidents who saw the Senate change hands during their presidency (Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George Bush II).

President Obama’s 42.8 percent confirmation rate is only slightly more than half of President George H.W. Bush’s 79.3 percent, even though President Bush presided over a period of divided government while Obama has thus far enjoyed unified governance.

Indeed, Obama’s confirmation rates are even lower than those during the very unusual 107th Congress when President George W. Bush’s transition period was cut short, in part because the Supreme Court did not hand down its Bush v. Gore decision until mid-December, thus limiting the time he had to plan for judicial confirmations. Congress also changed from Republican to Democratic control partway through the 107th Congress, further delaying routine business as the Senate completed administrative tasks associated with its transition. Nevertheless, fully 52 percent of President Bush’s nominees had been confirmed at this point in his presidency—nine percentage points higher than Obama’s 42.8 percent confirmation rate.

Here's what that actually looks like:

judicial confirmation

In a call Friday with reporters, Millhiser stressed that, under the rules by with the Senate operates, to get the 48 pending nominees confirmed, the Senate would have to do nothing else for the next 120 days, working around the clock, 24/7. The vast majority of the nominees that are being held up are not controversial. In fact, Doug Kendall, of the Constitutional Accountability Center, pointed out in the call that Obama has gone out of his way to include Republican Senators in his selection process, finding judges that the homestate Republican Senators will support. But none of them will support those nominees at the risk of bucking their leadership.

What this means practically, beyond the need for filibuster reform, is that justice is being delayed across the country at an alarming rate. The American Constitution Society has compiled the vacancies, region by region, in an interactive map. Without those seats filled, justice is being delayed, and effectively denied, across the nation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Any Particular Reason the Man Being Blocked (11+ / 0-)

    isn't talking about this? You'd think it could be an issue we could capitalize on somehow.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:39:23 AM PDT

  •  The party of "no" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, yella dawg, elwior

    is more than just a ceremonial title!  These guys take their (lack of) work very seriously!  I mean, if you can't throw a wooden shoe into the gears of Democracy, what kind of American are you?

    And, of course, the graph shows what happens when the shoe is on the other foot - Bush I had under 80% approved - Democrats are just naughty and evil, holding back Bork such obviously well qualified candidates in such high numbers that some kind of balance must be established!

    My life is an open book, and I want a rewrite!

    by trumpeter on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:42:56 AM PDT

  •  It's utterly ridiculous... (16+ / 0-)

    Dodd was recently on the floor asking for a Tennessee judge to be sat, and that both Alexander and Corker supported this judge being seated and all Dems would vote for them as well however McConnell had to say that it could not happen because there was a secret hold on them.  

    This is shameful and something I hope is front and center in attack ads for this November.  

    Dems shouldn't stand for this, but they seemingly roll over.  Recess appoint them all.  This senate had two years and failed in their duties.  F-em.

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:43:23 AM PDT

  •  It's Reid. (10+ / 0-)

    Make them filibuster.

    Make Republicans actually filibuster, and it will quickly fall apart.

    The weakness of the Harry in this matter is extremely frustrating. Take the fight to them: make the Repugs stop everything.

    Let's how long Snowe, Collins and StaplePutz can hold up as the people in their States start screaming at them.

    Harry's got to learn to play 'Chicken'.

    Do I need to call Sue Lowden?

  •  So the Republicans are in essence "shutting down (10+ / 0-)

    the Government" in a slow walk fashion.

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:46:45 AM PDT

  •  The Dems should make an add out of this. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, phonegery, marabout40, Floande

    This just screams unfairness.

    "It is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize" - Henry David Thoreau

    by blueoregon on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:47:29 AM PDT

  •  Dems agenda also to "blame"... (5+ / 0-)

    Look how much was accomplished in 18 months.  As was indicated in the diary it would take 120 days straight to get all confirmed as long as the GOP plays their games.  If Reid or the Administration wanted to play by the GOP rules it would mean all other matters - Climate, immigration etc would be put off on the back burner - which is exactly what the GP wants of course.  None of the nominees are controversial, but if they can make them seem controversial and force full hearings for all it gives the Dems less time for the rest of their agenda.  

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:48:19 AM PDT

    •  Climate and immigration on the back burner?! (0+ / 0-)

      Horrors!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.” ― Emma Goldman

      by Code Monkey on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:50:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama should recess appoint everyone (0+ / 0-)

      Tell R's he would love to have a an upperdown vote, but if they don't here is what will happen.

      love this by the way:

      In fact, Doug Kendall, of the Constitutional Accountability Center, pointed out in the call that Obama has gone out of his way to include Republican Senators in his selection process, finding judges that the homestate Republican Senators will support.

      Vintage Obama - surrender in advance and hope republicans help you. Instead of reversing the radical judicial activism of conservative judges, he picks judges who will observe the status quo.

      How 's that working out?

  •  This is part of (19+ / 0-)

    their long term strategy. The more seats they can leave vacant for the next Republican president to fill, the more wingnuts they can pack the courts with.

    Remember that they believe only they deserve to govern, and it's much easier to see their logic.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:49:11 AM PDT

  •  Repubs think Govt doesn't work (4+ / 0-)
    and them makes every effort to ensure that it doesn't.
  •  the major works of the Vast Right Wing (3+ / 0-)

    has been the courts. Over the yrs, even while out of the majority, the right has slowly solidified its hold on the courts and hence the prisons/prisoners. Of course it follows that the DOJ would naturally fall in line so as to go with the same flow that it has been said that "only dead fish go with the flow." ( a Palin quote, believe it or not )

    "Maybe the American eagle should be replaced with the ostrich." www.secure.taxcannabis.org/page/contribute/50000?source=weareprop19_d

    by SmileySam on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:51:25 AM PDT

  •  Quite an illustrative graphic, that one. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, bay of arizona, skyounkin, kevin k

    Obama, for once, should bone up and make all the recess appointments and let the chips fall they may.

    This is the most pathetic congress and senate caucus, from both parties.

    BP - Proving Oil and Water do mix.
    A Presidency Among the Vuvuzelas.
    palin's ability to sound like a vuvuzela while twittering is remarkable.

    by amk for obama on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:51:29 AM PDT

  •  Confirm Goodwin Liu. (12+ / 0-)

    If we can't get him onto the 9th Circuit with 59 Democratic Senators, we might as well pack up the judiciary game.

  •  Wait... what? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Observerinvancouver

    G.W. Bush had a plan?

  •  LA Times had a good piece on Sunday (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, skyounkin, amk for obama

    here on, among other things, "a former Navy lawyer and a well-regarded state appellate judge with a moderate record and "well-qualified" rating from the American Bar Assn" confirmation being held up...since 1994.

    I'm more than ever convinced we need filibuster reform.

    "@RL_Miller has a posse" -- eugene, on Twitter

    by RLMiller on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:54:20 AM PDT

  •  What's really hilarious (10+ / 0-)

    (if by hilarious, you mean vile) is that the GOP shows no signs of being punished for any of this.

    If the GOP, god forbid, takes over the Senate, I'm betting they rarely need 60 votes for anything destined for an Obama veto.

    But, in case the Democrats are pissed off enough to do to them what they did, make everything take 60 votes, I wouldn't be surprised if the slight GOP majority, God forbid, just got rid of the filibuster by changing the rules with 51 votes when the rules are set as a final 'fuck you' to the large Democratic majority that lost 59 to 41 on so many occasions from 2006-2010.

    The rules are going to be reformed.

    It's just who is going to do it.

    Those five Democrats who are diehards on the Senate Filibuster Rules Status Quo can feel good about knowing that they are working hard to make sure that only Movement Conservatives can govern, and be running for the fainting couch when the GOP flips them off and does it quick.

    •  Oh, there's no question that if Pugs (5+ / 0-)

      get control of the Senate they will immediately kill the filibuster and abolished secret holds.

      No question.

      The game has changed. Reid doesn't get it.

      There are mechanisms in place that can short circuit all of this bullshit, but Reid is afraid to even mention dropping the nuke. He's afraid to even make the Pugs filibuster, and the Stockholm Syndrome of Democrats in the Senate continues unabated.

      Harry is simply too much of a nice guy.

  •  Maybe Obama can stop singing Kumbaya now. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, bay of arizona, skyounkin

    Maybe it's time for him to announce that he's no longer going to try to change the tone in Washington single-handedly.

    Barack Obama: Ignores his legal obligation to prosecute people who tortured prisoners to death. Good at photo ops, though.

    by expatjourno on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 08:56:58 AM PDT

  •  Can't we hang this on particular Repub senators? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bay of arizona

    What is the list of appointees and the list of cloture votes?

    These guys can be the Party of No. That's their fault. But they aren't paying for it; the LTE columns aren't full of the names of the guys supporting the filibuster and the results.

    And that is our fault.

    Corporations are people; money is speech.
    1984 - George Orwell

    by Frank Palmer on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:01:22 AM PDT

  •  "Every Day, Senate Republicans... (4+ / 0-)

    ... are Sabotaging the Government of the United States of America."

    This is the winning political message that the Democratic leadership remains afraid to deliver.

    Their cowardice will be our downfall.

  •  This is by far my biggest disappointment with (9+ / 0-)

    Obama and his team. He should be hammering this in the news 24/7. It is simply unacceptable that the Senate has dragged their feet this much and even more acceptable that they are going on recess with this much work outstanding.

  •  I don't understand this article. (0+ / 0-)

    How much active blocking of nominations is actually happening?

    How many motions to proceed are being brought or fought?

    If Republicans really are hot to block all these judges, why not bite the bullet and make them do it for all the world to see?

    There's an election coming up and that certainly seems to fit a "party of no" position.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:09:47 AM PDT

    •  They have to be done individually (0+ / 0-)

      Cloture takes 2 days to "ripen" and there is post-cloture debate. It will take a week for every nominee. R's know that, and they know Obama is never going to make recess appointments.

      •  The part I don't understand, if that really is (0+ / 0-)

        the stumbling point, is -- Why take so long to get started?

        Republicans couldn't keep it going forever -- they really would look like obstructionists because lower court appointments are not 2000 page laws and, unlike the Supreme Court, they don't set precedent for the nation.

        At some point, somebody's got to gather the gumption to say, "Let's do this thing" and let the chips fall where they may.

        Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

        by dinotrac on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 12:23:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  our Dem party is so pathetic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bay of arizona

    What does it take to get the Dems to fight? They're being crapped on by the Republicans over and over and yet they do nothing?

    At some point you have to blame the Dems for what's happening. They have the power to fix the problem yet they do nothing but whine about the Republicans' behavior. I, like many, have simply stopped caring because I have no party to root for anymore.

  •  Thanks for posting the graph (0+ / 0-)

    I've saw this days ago and believe this graphs is one picture that needs to be held up through the election season.  I will be putting it on my own meager blog and talking to everyone I know about this issue.  

    This is the reason why even if we don't like our Dem. candidates and they don't inspire us too much, we have to get behind them for November.

    •  Look beyond the graph to what the (0+ / 0-)

      text is comparing at similar times into the their Presidency. Bush had only a 9 percent and not 44 percent as the graph displays.  Point being that Congress plays politics no matter who's in charge and that's the problem.  Both dems and repubs both play the same harmful games.

      I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a democrat.

      by thestructureguy on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:48:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nuke 'em (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bay of arizona

    The nuclear option is a potential response to a filibuster or other dilatory tactic. A senator makes a point of order calling for an immediate vote on the measure before the body, outlining what circumstances allow for this. The presiding officer of the Senate, usually the vice president of the United States or the president pro tempore, makes a parliamentary ruling upholding the senator's point of order. The Constitution is cited at this point, since otherwise the presiding officer is bound by precedent. A supporter of the filibuster may challenge the ruling by asking, "Is the decision of the Chair to stand as the judgment of the Senate?" This is referred to as "appealing from the Chair." An opponent of the filibuster will then move to table  the appeal. As tabling is non-debatable, a vote is held immediately. A simple majority decides the issue. If the appeal is successfully tabled, then the presiding officer's ruling that the filibuster is unconstitutional is thereby upheld. Thus a simple majority is able to cut off debate, and the Senate moves to a vote on the substantive issue under consideration. The effect of the nuclear option is not limited to the single question under consideration, as it would be in a cloture vote. Rather, the nuclear option effects a change in the operational rules of the Senate, so that the filibuster or dilatory tactic would thereafter be barred by the new precedent.

  •  I was recently polled by a (0+ / 0-)

    "news organization" and I was asked all this pro and anti Obama questions, and I was brutally honest.  I'm really pissed with how our government is working, despite the terrific job I believe our President is doing.  Because of my religious non-partisan beliefs I answered "I don't know" or "No opinion" on a lot of questions, but none of my dismay on what's been happening with our government is going to push me towards voting for any Republican candidate in our state.

    People are angry, but I think that when it comes to the ballot box the GOP is going to be very surprised to find that people are just as angry with them!

    OMG! I wrote a book! It will be published on August 23, and will be everywhere in Chicagoland.

    by Im nonpartisan on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:13:30 AM PDT

  •  Two words - RECESS APPOINTMENTS (6+ / 0-)

    Obama should tell the GOP that he'll appoint all of them enmasse unless they allow teh Senate to vote.  If the GOoPers don't allow it, then he should do it.  As a show of force he should appoint a handful of liberal judges in August and let them know there are plenty more where those came from.

    Of course it'll never happen cause Obama would prefer to play nice with those right wing assholes.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:13:37 AM PDT

  •  When this society dies---history will look back, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skyounkin, here4tehbeer

    and recognize very clearly that the Republican Party from 2006 on, decided to kill it.

    Since that time, they have done nothing, NOTHING to aid this Country.

    The Death of a Nation will be on their hands.

    •  And that's exactly what the baggers "want back." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      When these kooks say "1600", they're taking about the year - not the address on Pennsylvania Avenue.

      And the GOP doesn't give a fuck - all their money's safely in off-shore tax havens and foreign factories.

      Wasn't John "Soehber?" Boehner the one who was handing out lobbyist checks on the House floor a few years back?

      by here4tehbeer on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:34:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama/Dems smart to force issue next 120 days. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cartwrightdale

    To get the 48 pending nominees confirmed, the Senate would have to do nothing else for the next 120 days, working around the clock, 24/7.

    A way for Obama and Senate Democrats to regain the lost public confidence would be to do exactly that, force the Senate to deal with the judicial nominees and do nothing else.

    It would expose the GOP as obstructionist and for the worst of all reasons. The nominees are all excellent and non-controversial and the public would keep asking what is wrong with GOP extremists that they refuse to appoint good judges and hold up government.

    It would provide a perfect way to kill the filibuster since it was over judicial appointments that GOP faced down Democrats by threatening to kill the filibuster if Democrats did not allow Bush's judicial choices to be confirmed.

    But that would require a president and Senate leadership with guts and we don't have that which is why we have the low confirmation rate in the first place.

  •  Figure 1 is misleading though you (0+ / 0-)

    did have the true comparison in the body.  At the same point in his Presidency Bush did enjoy a greater acceptance rate but only 9 percent more and not the 44 percent in the figure.  Politics is practiced by both sides.  Which is the problem with Congress.

    Nevertheless, fully 52 percent of President Bush’s nominees had been confirmed at this point in his presidency—nine percentage points higher than Obama’s 42.8 percent confirmation rate.

    I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a democrat.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:27:54 AM PDT

  •  Payback is hell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bay of arizona
    But the ignorant American people, who continually vote agaainst their own interest, will probably forget by then, and swallow the Repug Talking Points.
    Luck has afforded me financial security, at least measured by what amounts to a home and food. Barring a medical issue, then my worries are small.  It is the poor and lower middle class, who will suffer under the fine christian hypocrites.
    All one need do, is watch these gigolos prance on the podiums like banty roosters, at whatever mega church you pick, and you see this prosperity theology, whose father was John Calvin.
    That was Obama's biggest mistake, thinking you can deal with the Devil, with his bipartisan blabber.
    You can only deal with the evil Demonic Repugs by quit playing nice, and call them out for what they are.
    Remember in the 2000 election, when the Dems had a political ad, with an elderly person in a shopping cart, at the top of a plank, with a garbage bin at the bottom, and the cart being pushed to the bin? The Repugs whined liked a stuffed pig, but it turned out 100% accurate.
  •  Treasonous sabotage. Call it what it is. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    Newt Gingrich, that obese oleaginous weasel, is still writing the script for today's Republican party. He has never wavered for an instant from his preferred mode of operation: sabotage any and all attempts by Democrats to actually govern. Hamstring each and every function of government by all means available. Never admit (regardless of the verdict of the election) that Democrats have any legitimacy to govern.

    Face it: this man is a traitor to America. He is a saboteur in our midst, one who has done far more damage to this nation than Al-Qaeda.

  •  Republicans are willing to wreck the American (0+ / 0-)

    economy and the Federal Government... as long as they can gain power to rule over the wreckage they create.

    Regaining power means everything to them.
    They don't even try to hide the fact that they don't give a crap about the little guy anymore because they think that because they have the corporate media and big money on their side that will trump the average American.

    They could possibly be right, too.

  •  Or, Obama could grow a goddamn spine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bay of arizona

    and reccess EVERYONE.

    But he won't.

    Fuck the rethugs- they have been given time and time and time again to play along- but they sit there like spoiled little children and just say no.  Time to govern Obama.  You were elected to be president of the United States, not the rethugs.

    •  Why is it that the GOP lost the House, the Senate (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bay of arizona, skyounkin, neroden

      and the Presidency, but they still dictate the way the country is run?

      If you calculate the percentage of the population they represent in the Senate, their power becomes even more out of balance in relation to the percentage of the population they represent.

      But in the end I guess it comes down to how much money and power they represent, not the percentage of the population that determines their power.

      They don't even pretend to represent the people anymore.

  •  I found this article on private judges. (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.google.com/...

    The ability of Senators to stymie the court system by refusing to confirm the appointments of judges can, if carried on long enough, so slow down the courts ability  to proceed that only those with enough money to pay will have their disputes resolved while the rest of the lawsuits will linger in limbo.

    There must be some sort of register of secret holds,  of the who and when they were imposed, and the when unheld.  We should have a right to see this register.

    What do we struggle against the most? The inevitable.

    by phonegery on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 09:59:17 AM PDT

  •  Recess appoint (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bay of arizona
    Every god damn one of them.  It would be worth the vapors it would generate.
  •  Enough time has passed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, bay of arizona, brein

    that the president is justified to recess appoint every one of his nominees.  Do it for the sake of the judiciary.

  •  This is part of the "starve the beast" idea (0+ / 0-)

    I have heard the GOP talk about the "evils of the court system" and "liberal judges" my whole life.  They love to slam the courts every chance they can....unless it is someone that their Repbulican President has appointed.

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