In case you thought the Senate rules reform of 2013 was going to make President Obama's judicial nominees sail through the Senate like shit though a goose, think again.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee met to consider 3 Circuit Court nominees:
Robert E. Bacharach, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuithttp://www.judiciary.senate.gov/...
William J. Kayatta, Jr., to be United States Circuit Judge for the First Circuit
Richard Gary Taranto, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit
You'll never guess what happened. Or if you have any connection with reality, maybe you will.
First, a little background about the history of these nominees. These are the first 3 of 33 nominees left over from last year to be considered by the Judiciary Committee. All 3 are considered non-controversial nominees and are supported by their home state senators from ME & OK.
1st Circuit Court of Appealshttp://judicialnominations.org/...
William J. Kayatta, Jr.
Hearing Date: 03/14/12
Reported unanimously by Committee: 04/19/12
10th Circuit Court of Appeals
Robert E. Bacharach
Reported by unanimouslyCommittee: 06/07/12
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
Richard Gary Taranto
Reported unanimously by Committee: 03/29/12
Of these 3, only Bacharach made it to the Senate floor for a vote in 2012. The unsurprising result:
On July 26, 2012, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture on Bacharach's nomination. A cloture vote held on July 30, 2012, failed by a vote of 56-34, with 3 senators voting present, including both Oklahoma Senators, Tom Coburn and James Inhofe.http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Thanks to epic delaying tactics (blue slips, committee delays, filibusters, cloture votes, and the Thurmond Rule) by Senate Republicans since 2009, there are 87 judicial vacancies as of today. 19 more vacancies are pending later in 2013, and 35 nominees are pending for those 106 lifetime appointments.
It's now 2013, the "Thurmond Rule" is in the rear-view mirror, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have sung kum-ba-ya over the latest Senate rules compromise, and these nominees have had their lives on hold for more than a year waiting for the Senate to move on their nominations.
So what happened yesterday?
Bacharach and two other nominees were on Thursday's agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Charles Grassley, of Iowa, the top Republican on the panel, asked that the votes be delayed for a week.http://newsok.com/...
Senator Grassley's contention is that the committee is "offending 3 new members" by not having full hearings for these nominees (who have been pending for a year and were reported unanimously by the committee 8-10 months ago), and that Republicans are helping to move things along by not demanding those hearings. Really.
You can watch the hearing here - the meat of the Leahy/Grassley discussion is from the 29:00 minute to 31:20 minute mark.
Senator Leahy said Republicans are welcome to demand full hearings, and that he will simply schedule them to start Friday morning and they will run straight through Saturday, Sunday, and Monday until they are done.
Of course, Grassley wants no part of that working-over-the-weekend thing. He'd rather just take another week out of the lives of all of Obama's nominees. After all, this delay backs up all 30 of the other nominees left from 2010, 2011, and 2012 another week.