Now, I would like to spend a couple minutes discussing the D.C. Circuit. As most of my colleagues know, the D.C. Circuit is the least busy circuit in the country. In fact, it ranks last or almost last in nearly every category that measures workload. [...]The D.C. Circuit is the second most powerful court in the nation, and in fact has sent more judges to the Supreme Court than any other, including John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As Think Progress's Ian Millhiser explains, Grassley is technically correct in the number of cases the Court has assigned, but entirely wrong about the load the Court lifts. It hears an "unusually large number of major regulatory and national security cases, many of which require very specialized legal research, involve intensely long records, and take more time for a judge to process than four or five normal cases of the kinds heard in other circuits."
Given this imbalance in workload, today I am introducing the Court Efficiency Act. A number of my colleagues are co-sponsoring the legislation, including Senators Hatch, Sessions, Graham, Cornyn, Lee, Cruz and Flake.
This legislation is straightforward. It would add a seat to the Second and the Eleventh Circuits. At the same time, it would reduce the number of authorized judgeships for the D.C. Circuit from 11 to 8.
Just last month, Republicans filibustered a nominee to fill the seat left vacant by John Robert, the extremely well-qualified Caitlin Halligan, who had waited since the fall of 2010 for a vote. Last month, she gave up the ghost and withdrew her nomination. Now the nominee is Sri Srinivasan, a well-qualified but decidely not progressive candidate that Republicans shouldn't have too many qualms over. In fact, he has strong bipartisan support, having been endorsed by everyone from Ken Starr and George W. Bush's solicitors general Paul D. Clement and Theodore B. Olson to Clinton appointee Seth Waxman and Obama appointee Neal Katyal.
That's why Grassley and friends have come up with this new ruse. There's no good reason to oppose Srinivasan on the merits, so they won't oppose him, just the seat he would fill. Because there is no length to which Republicans won't go to obstruct this president.
Paying attention, Mr. Reid? That's a problem.