"I've always thought that judges should get votes. Elections have consequences," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "He wants to obviously get his nominees to the second most important court in America."As if there's a possibility that at least one or two of these three candidates won't be filibustered. As if McCain or Graham being reasonable (and Enzi being disengaged) would make a difference when there are these guys:
"I've been pretty good on voting for judges if I think they're qualified and not ideologues," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "Some of my colleagues feel that the D.C. Circuit is sort of overdone. I haven't made my mind up yet."
"I don't have any opinion," Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said as he walked away.
"You don't need any more in that circuit. It's the most underworked circuit in the country," said a visibly agitated Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). "I think we're playing politics."Right. Because nominating judges for vacancies on the court is not governing. Unbelievable.
"We all know that the D.C. court has too many judges on it. It's not a busy court," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). "I would think that the president is ill-advised to just immediately try to look for one other opportunity to establish confrontation, unless he's just trying to change the subject."
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) fumed at Obama for creating a sense of urgency behind the three nominees and, more broadly, for criticizing Republicans for obstruction. [...]
"When you win an election, particularly when you win a second election, you should stop campaigning and start governing," Alexander said. "This business of threatening the Congress and inventing a crisis is unpresidential, unproductive and embarrassing for him to act that way."
As is the argument that this court is doing just fine with all the vacancies. The DC Circuit is the second most important court in the country. The cases it deals with are among the most complex and time-consuming and the caseload per individual judge is high. The former chief judge of the court, Patricia Wald wrote in this op-ed for the Washington Post that the caseload for the individual judges has increased from 119 in 2005 to 188 to now. When George W. Bush was president, none of these senators had a problem with doing their job in filling seats on this court.
In other words, Republicans being Republicans. And McCain and Graham, for all their "reasonableness," aren't going to do a damned thing to convince Mitch McConnell to call off the attack dogs and allow these nominations to go forward. As if he could, or would. The only way all three of these judges get through the Senate is if Harry Reid and Democrats change the rules.