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President Barack Obama delivers a statement announcing the nomination of three candidates for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 4, 2013. Nominees from left are: Robert Leon Wilkins, Cornelia
President Obama announcing the nominations of Robert Leon Wilkins, Cornelia "Nina" Pillard,
and Patricia Ann Millett.
All signs are pointing to a total filibuster by Republicans of President Obama's three nominees—Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, Robert Wilkins—to the critical Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the influential court responsible for setting precedent in cases involving federal agency actions. It's second only to the Supreme Court in import for decisions.

This is the court that Republicans have deemed too inconsequential to deserve a full complement of 11 judges, speciously arguing that the court just isn't busy enough that the three current vacancies there need to be filled.

Republicans appear to be united behind Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) legislation to reduce the number of active judges on the D.C. Circuit court from 11 to eight. He proposes eliminating one seat, transferring one to the Second Circuit and transferring another to the 11th Circuit. (During the Bush administration, Grassley led a successful effort to reduce the size of the D.C. Circuit court from 12 to 11.)

“It’s way overstaffed,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), another Judiciary Committee member, told TPM on Thursday. “It does not need these judges, and we don’t have the money.”

The tentative truce the Senate reached on executive nominees, nearly broken on the razor-thin confirmation of an ATF director, is not going to extend to judicial nominees. Republicans are obviously, intentionally, playing with fire. They're daring Harry Reid and Democrats to pull the filibuster plug on judicial nominees and go nuclear, and they're doing it with transparently bullshit arguments. They're likely doing it because they suspect, rightly, that Reid does not have 50 other votes willing to scrap the filibuster for judges.

At the same time, President Obama is getting increasingly aggressive with nominations. In addition to the mass nomination of the three D.C. Circuit judges, in the past week he's announced three nominations to the Ninth and Tenth Circuit courts of appeals. He's forwarded six to various district court judgeships. And he's thrown in a boatload of executive branch nominations for good measure.

There are a couple of possible things at work here, which aren't mutually exclusive. Obama is catching up on a tremendous backlog of vacancies. This White House has really lagged in making nominations, in part because of Republican obstruction. But it's also a move to shine a bright light on Republican refusal to allow the courts to function, just like they're shutting down the other two branches.

This also puts a lot of pressure on Democratic senators. They do have the power in their hands to help clear the backlog, if they'll use it. Their visits home during August recess would be a good time for them to hear directly from progressive constituents about it.

Tell your Democratic senators to keep filibuster reform moving, and to bring back the talking filibuster.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (42+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:32:33 AM PDT

  •  Oh please, oh, please, oh please . . . (18+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid and the Dems, put an end to this nonsense.  The appointment of federal judges is, if anything, more important than filling the executive positions.

    I can't imagine why there wouldn't be 50 senators willing to go nuclear over this.  It makes me wonder if there is any hope for our country.

    •  Some recalcitrant senators are probably glad (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twcollier, Mr MadAsHell, scamperdo

      That the filibuster presented people like Miguel Estrada and Charles W. Pickering from becoming federal judges.

      It seems that the Democrats who aren't willing to go fully nuclear are mainly senior Senators with generally liberal voting records whose long memories include instances when the filibuster was used to benefit the left.

      •  It may be that these "senior Senators" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mcartri, Old Sailor

        are scared crapless that Republicans are going to take over the Senate in 2014 and they're going to have to live in the minority with their own rules.  What they neglect to consider is that the Republicans will have the nuclear option on everything considered, voted on and passed before noon the first day of the session.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:23:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Reid's Right of Center Wing of USA Corporate Party (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patango

          Loves the filibuster rule. It allows its Wall Street loving Dems to avoid up/down votes that would expose them as the enablers of the GOP agenda. The day the GOP takes the Senate back, the filibuster rule will be terminated.

      •  Is a comprimise possible? (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe not all out ban of filibuster, but at least have some quota or other incentive/disincentive to make across the board filibusters painful or limited to an obsessive obstructionist minority.

        There's room at the top, they're telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile as you kill. -J Lennon

        by noelcor on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:57:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This entire tactic by Republicans of stalling (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PorridgeGun, Patango, Old Sailor

      judicial appointments by Democratic Presidents has been going on for so long.  Republicans did the same thing to Clinton's appointments.  

      This is all an ALEC-inspired/ Federalist Society-inspired tactical strategy to keep the federal judiciary largely in the hands of John Roberts clones.

      I'm really sick of the Republican tactic, but I'm also upset with congressional Democrats for putting up with it for so long and over such an extended period of political history.

  •  Perhaps Reid and the Democrats have learned (11+ / 0-)

    from the last go-round that the way to get what they want is to hang tough.
      But perhaps not. We must make our voices heard once again.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:42:35 AM PDT

  •  This will depend less, to my mind, on (11+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid, and more on whether he can demonstrate that he has the 51 votes to carry it off.  He can only do so much when his caucus is not behind him.  With them behind him, he can (and, I believe, will) force the issue.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:44:19 AM PDT

  •  I'd like to see (14+ / 0-)

    the President renominate Caitlin Halligan the the same seat she withdrew herself from consideration from.  Let us suppose Halligan was as ideological as her GOP detractors say she is. So? Janice Rogers Brown is a complete lunatic and we let her be seated on that same court.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:49:49 AM PDT

    •  I was trying to remember Brown's name ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TLS66, MiserableOldFart

      thinking the very same thing---"complete lunatic." Janice Rogers Brown ended up on the court and there isn't anybody Obama has nominated that is even near the same zip code to being that bald-assed nuts.

      GOPers are running the tables, and everybody to date has been afraid to call them on it. They're packing courts when they own the White House and blowing up the nominations process when they don't. It's all patently transparent.

  •  There better be a nuclear showdown... (11+ / 0-)

    It has to be obvious to anyone paying attention that the Republicans see only one last chance for continued relevance in today's world. And that last chance is to control the Supreme Court, the one branch of government that is not elected and has no term limits.

    •  There has to be this type of showdown because (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MRA NY, mnguitar, trumpeter, rabel, twcollier

      the Republicans will remain obstructionists unless they've got their backs to the wall.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:10:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, the votes probably aren't there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk

        I expect Harry Reid doesn't have and won't get pledges of 50 votes to detonate the nuclear option because of Ds who want to preserve their right to filibuster conservative, particularly pro-life, SCOTUS nominees should there be a GOP Senate and President in the future.
        That's what the Senate Rs are banking on, and they're probably right.

        •  you mean like John Roberts and Samuel Alito.. (5+ / 0-)

          who the Dems so effectively filibustered before? Oh, wait a minute.....

          •  Obviously, the didn't filibuster them (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mnguitar

            At least not successfully -- they tried with Alito but couldn't muster the votes.
            Nor, as I mentioned below, did they filibuster Samuel Alito nor even Clarence Thomas, who pretty clearly sexually harassed his subordinates even while serving as the head of the federal agency charged with enforcing laws against workplace discrimination, and then lied about it under oath in his confirmation hearings.  Alito only got 58 votes and Thomas only 52, but both were confirmed because the Dems didn't filibuster either one in the end.
            But those votes didn't tip the balance on abortion rights.
            I think the idea motivating those Dem Senators reluctant to do away with the filibuster for judicial nominees is what happens if/when The Big One comes along at just the wrong moment:  a pro-choice Justice retires or dies when Roe v. Wade hangs by one vote, and there is a GOP Senate and a GOP President.  In that circumstance, a filibuster would be the only thing between abortion rights and oblivion.
            That's their reasoning -- I'm not advocating for it, I'm just saying that I think there are several Dem Senators who feel that way.  Enough to keep Reid from getting 50 votes to do away with judicial filibusters.

            •  The dems "reasoning" in this case (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior, Berkeley Fred, twcollier

              is flawed, because the Republicans will most certainly end the filibuster as soon as Democrats try to use it. Ending Republican filibuster abuse is, I believe, the last chance Democrats have to avoid have an unrepresentatively conservative SCOTUS for the next two decades.

              •  You may be right (0+ / 0-)

                I tend to agree with you.
                And the stakes are so high -- it would just be absurd if the Dems couldn't put a large majority of judges on the federal courts after having held the presidency for four of the last six presidential terms.

        •  I don't care (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patango

          he should still call the vote and make them own it, but he won't, he still thinks of the Senate as some collegial old boys club...

          •  call the vote to lose it? (0+ / 0-)

            I guess I don't see the point of that.
            If Reid brings up the "nuclear option" and loses -- fails to get 50 votes -- then the Senate rules don't change and the Rs get a talking point ("o.k., majority rules! And we win!"), one they would surely use to justify changing the rules themselves should they ever get to 51 votes again (say, possibly January of 2015).  Plus Reid and the Dems are publicly humiliated and appear weak and anti-democratic.

            If the votes aren't there Reid should not make the threat, much less try to carry it out and fail.

            •  " call the vote to lose it?" twcollier (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry but this argument is a joke

              Put these democratic senators on record for helping the GOP shut down the democrat party agenda for the next 10 years in regards to the courts  , in the light of day these dems will think twice about what they are voting for , Reid is just giving them , and himself cover

              Listening to dems support this spinelessness is nauseating

              Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

              by Patango on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:08:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry to "nauseate" you, Patango (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Patango

                But the identity of some of the Democratic Senators who are reluctant to support doing away with the filibuster for judicial nominees is no big secret, and they aren't afraid of "the light of day" about it, either.
                Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and Sen. Max Baucus of Montana are two votes that Sen. Reid is unlikely to get.
                They've been named lots of times -- for example, here is a Politico article.
                Both are retiring after this term, so the fact that lots of Democratic voters around the country won't like their stance on this issue means jack-shit to them.
                Sen. Angus King of Maine is also said to be wary of this change.  He's an Independent, so he's also pretty well insulated from political pressure on this.
                Then you've got Democratic Senators up for re-election in red states, who are extremely leery of taking any stand on an issue that might cost them any "moderate" votes (by the extremely skewed standards of their home states), such as Sens. Mark Begich in Alaska, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and Kay Hagan in N. Carolina.  Do you insist on making them take a very tough vote, Patango?  If they don't stand with Reid on this vote, are Dems really gonna punish them in their elections?  If so, then we are virtually certain to get a hard-right Republican conservative in their place.  

                This is just the cold reality of Senatorial politics in 2013.  I don't like it any better than you do.  It sucks, I know.  It shouldn't be that way, but it is.
                Hope that Pepto-Bismol helps, my friend.

                •  "Hope that Pepto-Bismol helps, my friend." (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  twcollier

                  Yes it did help , thanx , I tried to up rate your comment but it was to late

                  We just disagree that it does not make a difference , dem voters have more choices than just not NOT VOTING for their conservadems , things like this get people motivated to call and write them on issues like this , and minds can be changed

                  The people running for Levins and Baucus seats can be forced to say what they support , with NO VOTE TAKEN it can all be brushed under the rug ,  but if we have a vote ,  it all sees the light of day , and the debate gets even more focused

                   I can tell you know the difference

                  The reason I am so offended by this is these dems are basically handing the judiciary over to the GOP.... DC dems and Reid , who are attempting to give themselves cover on this move should be forced to realize there is a wing in the dem party that will not stand for surrender any more

                  The petitions on here help , but these senators do not give a $hit when it comes down to it , we either hold these people accountable , or send them a signal that they can lie to us , and sell out our party platform , and we will support them any way

                  Running a party where only the  wealthy DC dems  have a say in what happens is not something I will ever be part of , I will not be supporting a dem party that hands the judiciary to the GOP , watching the dems shuffle around on this issue for the last 4 years has only solidified my stance    

                  Thanx and nice talking to you

                  Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

                  by Patango on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 11:51:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Even FDR couldn't pack the Court, and he had (0+ / 0-)

        an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress.    

        The patellar reflex is a deep tendon reflex which allows one to keep one's balance with little effort or conscious thought.

        by SpamNunn on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:49:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dems are giving the judicial system to Repugs! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mnguitar, Patango

      The courts are already packed with RW Bush appointees.  If the Dems don't get some progressives in the courts, the Oligarchs will make law in the judicial branch (just like SCOTUS is doing now) for decades to come.

      10's of millions of Americans are suffering because a bunch of gutless Dems think they're in some kind of "gentlemans "  disagreement with the loyal opposition.  BS!! These wing nuts are successfully dismantling a hundred years of progress for the 99%.

  •  upperdown! upperdown! upperdown! (10+ / 0-)

    I guess that only works with Republican Presidents...

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

    by RichM on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:18:41 AM PDT

  •  Neither Thomas nor Alito got 60 votes (9+ / 0-)

    It's worth remembering that neither Clarence Thomas nor Samuel Alito got 60 votes in the Senate, yet each was confirmed -- because the Ds did not filibuster their nominations.  They tried with Alito but John Kerry couldn't get the votes for it.  So he came up for a straight majority vote on confirmation, and got 58 votes.
    Clarence Thomas, whose confirmation was famously contentious after Professor Anita Hill (and others -- who were never called to testify) came forward to say that he had sexually harassed her while he was the head of the federal agency charged with enforcing the laws against workplace discrimination,  ended up getting confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

    I still cannot  believe that Clarence Thomas committed perjury during his confirmation hearings and still managed to get confirmed.  It's as if Senators felt he had some divine right to a seat on the Court, no matter what the evidence showed or the facts were.  I mean, at the very least, there was a serious question about whether he had committed gravely serious violations of ethics, policy and law.  Not to mention the fact that his qualifications were paper-thin to begin with.  But, of course, as a black conservative, the Rs knew that if his nomination went down they would almost certainly be left with a white candidate to replace Thurgood Marshall as the one and only black SCOTUS Justice - a politically dicey situation for them.
    If ever there was a nomination that should have been denied by a unanimous vote, that was it!

  •  Well showdown might be a little strong. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, twcollier

    More like Republicans filibustering and the Democrats allowing it.
    I'll be shocked if the Dems go nuclear over judicial nominees.
    Having said that, I was amazed that Reid apparently had the votes to do it for admin. positions, but judicial nominees are a tougher case to make for some of the Dems.
    I will be delighted to write a comment in future days saying how wrong I was and that the Dems have finally decided to put governance over so called comity in the Senate, but I really don't think I'll have that opportunity.
    C'mon Dems prove me wrong, please.

  •  Stop threatening to go nuclear... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell

    ...and push the fucking button already.

    •  Reid doesn't have the button unless... (0+ / 0-)

      Republicans do something to convince a few swing Democrats that something needs to be done.

      He doesn't have 51 votes to do away with the filibuster across the board as a general matter. What he has are 51 votes to do away with the filibuster if the Republicans won't stop abusing the process.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:23:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we don't need the judges (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrississippi, twcollier

    then I suggest a compromise:

    the three judges that have been on the court the longest retire, and Obama's 3 take their place.

    Fair?

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:21:02 AM PDT

    •  Good luck with that. (0+ / 0-)

      He might as well ask Roberts, Scalia and Thomas to retire.

      The patellar reflex is a deep tendon reflex which allows one to keep one's balance with little effort or conscious thought.

      by SpamNunn on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:32:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know it won't happen (0+ / 0-)

        The GOP reaction to the suggestion would expose their arguments as lies, though. And that might get the Village to stop pretending this isn't unprecedented obstruction.

        The point is to give Reid cover with the Village for the nuclear option.

        Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

        by blue aardvark on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:38:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The behavior of the Republicans is the best... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg

    tool the supporters of filibuster reform have for getting the holdout Democratic Senators on their side.

    The Republicans can't just pick off a judge here and there. No, they have to block Obama's nominees across the board, while waging a PR campaign (stacking the court) that is so insultingly, transparently stupid as to beg for a response.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:21:11 AM PDT

  •  Hard to believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    that ANY court in DC isn't "busy enough".  No, on second thought, it's not really that hard.  They should be, but it's not hard to see why they aren't.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:25:05 AM PDT

  •  If the DC circuit is too inconsequential (0+ / 0-)

    then clearly it could not have given Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts the experience they need to sit on the Supreme Court, and they should resign forthwith.

  •  Democrats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    should respond by introducing legislation to abolish the House and cut the Senate down to about 10 members.

  •  Harry Reid will not waste the nuclear option on (0+ / 0-)

    what is being perceived as a "court packing" scheme.  

    The DC Circuit presiding judge has already advised the that the Court is not overworked and can perform, just fine, with its current compliment of nine.  In order to get Congress to agree to fill vacancies that the Court does not need in order to function (and it's Congress that gets to decide how many judges will sit on this Court), the President will have to provide a plausible rationale for nominating three Democratic judges at once for this Court, given its light work load and given the existence of so many vacant seats across the country. He'll be hard pressed to do that, unless he simply states that his goal is to pack this Court in order to advance his agenda.  Even FDR could not get away with that.  

    This second term is of the President's is beginning to look a lot like FDR's second term, when the Hughes Court began reeling him back in with a series of power limiting decision.  Here, however, President Obama will not have a World War to justify a further expansion of the already great power of the Presidency, especially with the NSA issue still fresh in everyone's mind.

    No, it ain't gonna happen.

    The patellar reflex is a deep tendon reflex which allows one to keep one's balance with little effort or conscious thought.

    by SpamNunn on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:30:56 AM PDT

    •  Who is preceiving this as court packing? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BentLiberal, Berkeley Fred

      The Republicans, obviously. Those of us who live in reality-world, not so much.

      This is really quite simple. The DC court of Appeals has three vacancies. Obama has nominated candidates for those vacancies. This is his job. It says so in the Constitution. Now the Senate should do its job, also assigned by the Constitution, and give those candidates an up or down vote.

      And there are currently eight judges on the court, not nine.

      "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

      by Drobin on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:57:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please. The work load does not warrant filling (0+ / 0-)

        those seats for anything but political reasons, especially not all at one time.  

        Also, there are six sitting senior status judges in the DC Circuit which are available to pick up the slack.   A senior status judge receives the full salary of a Federal Court judge but only works part-time.  When those judges start crying about being overworked, then it's time to fill their seats.

        The patellar reflex is a deep tendon reflex which allows one to keep one's balance with little effort or conscious thought.

        by SpamNunn on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:04:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

          The constitution does not designate surveying senior status judges on their opinion of the workload as mechanism for nominating judges.

          When those judges start crying about being overworked, then it's time

          Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
          Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

          by BentLiberal on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:26:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, it does, if that's what they care to do. (0+ / 0-)

            The Constitution leaves it to Congress alone, and not the Prez, to decide exactly how many judges we have and where they get to sit.  

            Article III, Section I

            The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

            The patellar reflex is a deep tendon reflex which allows one to keep one's balance with little effort or conscious thought.

            by SpamNunn on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:46:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And Congress has set the DC court size to 11 (0+ / 0-)

              Until they change that, that is proper number of judges on that court.

              In addition, changes in court size are usually decided based on the recommendations of independent commissions, precisely so that politics doesn't enter into it. Here, the Republicans want to shrink the DC court of appeals for the simple reason that it will cement the current conservative lean to this very important court.

              We can argue about what the proper size of this court should be, but it should not be based on Sen. Grassley's say-so.

              "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

              by Drobin on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:09:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Do you work at that court? (0+ / 0-)

          If not, how do you know what their work load is like?

          Grassley would have you believe that you can figure out how much the judges on the court work by just counting cases per judge. But the DC appeals court is very different from the other appeals court, as it hears many more administrative appeals with very complex and important issues at stake. For instance, the DC court in 2012 adjudicated 108 administrative appeals on the merits, more than three times as many as any other appeals court (actually five times as many if you count per judge). If you don't think that sounds like much, remember that the Supreme Court hears only about 80 cases per year. The reason for the relatively low number is the same in both cases: The issues dealt with are often of great importance and deserves a great deal of attention from the court. For that reason, the DC court absolutely should have fewer cases per judge than other appeals courts. This same reason is also why the Republicans are so determined to keep Obama's nominees off the court.

          And there is not agreement among the judges of the court that the it is "performing just fine" with its current staffing. For instance, Patrica Wald, a former chief judge of the DC court, recently wrote an op-ed where she argued that the low staffing of the court is "cause for extreme concern".

          As far as senior judges go, every federal court has them, and the DC court actually has fewer senior judges than the average appeals court, even when you account for court size. Moreover, a senior judge can only be compelled to take on a quarter of the workload of a regular judge, and they set their own schedule, so they don't help as much as you would think.

          In the past, when judgeships were been added to or removed from a court, it was usually done based on the recommendation of a non-partisan judicial commission, and not because one party wanted to cement its influence over the nation's second most important court. If seats should be removed from the DC court, that's how it should be done, in a non-political way. Until then, the President has a duty to appoint judges to the court, and the Senate has a duty to vote on them.

          "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

          by Drobin on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:02:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Of course these seats don't warrant filling. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Berkeley Fred

          Until there is a Republican president. Then they will be filled immediately.

      •  To me, it feels a bit like changing the rules (0+ / 0-)

        In the middle of the game because you don't like the outcome.  I would prefer that the nuclear option only be used at the start of session so that it doesn't come across that way, but I wouldn't stand in the way of anyone who wants to do it now.

      •  Only Repubs think it's 'court packing' (0+ / 0-)

        After all, who would take the word of Senator Grassley (R-IA) and agree with his spin that a Democratic President appointing COA judges to open seats is "court packing", but a Republican? I've tried to find out who this judge was that said the DC Circuit does not need more judges, but all I could find was Senator Grassley purporting to have received anonymous letters from DC judges saying this.

        Then again, a person (like, say the OP) who thought Shelby County was correctly decided because it championed 'equal states rights' under the 10th Amendment over the clear language of the 15th Amendment, would probably think that a Democratic President making judicial appointments to open positions is 'court packing'.

        Just saying.

  •  I wonder if McCain still wants to grab more (0+ / 0-)

    power from McTurtle?  This would be a chance to make another move to undermined him.  All he would have to do is find enough Republicans that are willing to vote for some of the nominees.  I guess we will have to see.

  •  Does every issue have to be ... (0+ / 0-)

    framed in a doomsday scenario??? Come on people...NUCLEAR, TERROR, WAR, TYRANNY, HITLER...really?


    I shared 96% of my DNA with a chimpanzee. In return, the chimpanzee gave me a banana. There is no duty more indispensable than that of returning a kindness.

    by glb3 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:37:19 AM PDT

  •  There are only the Dems to blame. They can fix (0+ / 0-)

    things and they won't.  The Repubs are in charge and the Dems are pathetic.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:45:30 AM PDT

  •  What!?!?! (0+ / 0-)

    The GOP is kicking up their heels again?  I'm shocked, just shocked.  

    Tell your Democratic senators to keep filibuster reform moving, and to bring back the talking filibuster.
    Another clarion call that will go nowhere.  FYI, no one is listening in Washington.  

    I don't have a solution.  I'm not sure there is one with the clowns on either side of Pennsylvania Ave.  

  •  slight correction (or augmentation) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg

    Obama has actually forwarded twelve district court nominations in the past week. There were six yesterday, and another six last Friday.

    "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

    by Drobin on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:50:12 AM PDT

  •  So there are three vacancies, and Beauregard (0+ / 0-)

    says "they" don't have the money for them.

    Yet @ChkGrssly wants to eliminate only one of the three -- transferring the other two to different circuits.

    So which is it, boys? Too "expensive" or too "Democrat"?

    (that's a rhetorical question - we know the answer).

    "If you mean time-traveling bunnies, then yes."

    by here4tehbeer on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:56:48 AM PDT

  •  In the same vein, I'm not sure that we can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twcollier

    afford all the GOP senators that the country has - based on the amount they accomplish, this seems to be another example of being way over-staffed.

    I say phasing out 11 to 13 of them might do the trick.

  •  As a citizen… (0+ / 0-)

    I want a fully functioning government, it's what I pay my taxes for.

    Has any President ever, been more messed with than President Obama?

    Republicans should be ashamed, if they had any shame left.

    I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

    by roninkai on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:03:38 PM PDT

  •  Time for the Nuke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberte

    Now is the time to use the nuclear option. Reid had threatened it previously over Obama's D.C. judicial appointments, even before he successfully used it on the key executive appointments including the Wall Street consumer one and NLRB ones. Any Democrat who opposes going nuclear on judges should remember that if the Senate keeps deadlocking, it will look very ineffective. Such gridlock will play right into the GOP's arguments that a Dem. Senate is dysfunctional and, therefore, it's time to turn over the keys to Mitch "McTurtle." This is the same tactic that House GOP obstructionists used in 1994 and 2010 and low information voters fell for it, giving us Speakers Gingrich and Boehner. Federal judges are a President's major legacy. The GOP knows it, and we better understand that. For more on the real GOP scandal, constant judicial obstructionism, read  this    

  •  Not Nuclear Option, it is reset to pre-1968 rules (0+ / 0-)

    It is not a Nuclear Option, it resetting the Senate Rules to the original Senate Rules before they tried to fast track things in the Senate. That was when you had Republicans who put Country before party.

    Now the GOP betrays their Country, the men and women of their country, and have been engaged in committing treason to aid and abet the superrich who are sworn enemies of the Government of United States of America.

    There is not one GOP elected official or supporter that deserves to be elected to any office. Ever one of those fools and traitors needs to sent to prison and the wealth they have stolen from Americans, and that they have channeled to their friends and families grabbed under the RICO Act. Returning it to the rightful owners, the American people.

  •  The overwhelming (0+ / 0-)

    damage done to the 'American Experiment' has been inflicted via right wing judicial appointees.  

    It's no secret, and the plan has been ongoing for decades.  It must be stopped.

  •  Evolution 1 - Ayn Rand 0 (0+ / 0-)

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:22:21 PM PDT

  •  Jeff Merkeley is my Senator (0+ / 0-)

    I'm thinking I'd be preaching to the choir

  •  Delay in judicial nominations WAS the fault ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... of an administration who was trying to read the tea leaves and pick its fights carefully. No longer.

    It was about time to fill these posts! The Republicans would have done so eagerly in any situation where filling vacancies would have delivered the deciding votes to conservative causes.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:36:43 PM PDT

  •  "Tell your Dem senators. . . " (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango

    Hmmm, like DiFi even acknowledges any messages I have sent her over the last 12 years.  

  •  Why not comprimise to a less then nuclear option? (0+ / 0-)

    If Reid can't get 51 votes  to completely remove all filibusters (aka "nuclear option"), because liberal leaning senators don't want to get burned when the tables are turned.....why not write a bill designed for the current problem, but allows the occasional filibuster as it was used in less-obstructionist days.  

    We are always talking about Repub's inability to comprimise...why not consider it for Dem-only type vote?

    There's room at the top, they're telling you still, but first you must learn how to smile as you kill. -J Lennon

    by noelcor on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:32:37 PM PDT

  •  Reid lied (0+ / 0-)

    to all dems during the 2012 election year , while fund raising and wanting to get out the vote , he promised to address this issue , now he acts like it never happened

    If the dems cave and allow the dysfunctional MINORITY GOP party to set the agenda for dems , imo it will fracture the dem party , why would I fight for or finance a party with leaders who are to chicken to stand up , do the right thing , and fight for their own agenda ?

    A glaring example of what we are dealing with ?

    The GOP senate can not even allow the THUD bill to pass , and they are bragging about it , anyone who thinks they will not change senate rules to a simple majority once they get in power are clues less , these people do not care about America , jobs , the health of our nation , or anything but their own narrow minded agenda

    WAKE UP DEMS!!!!!!! `

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:46:42 PM PDT

  •  if a... (0+ / 0-)

    Republican wins the White House in 2016 suddenly the GOP will find these seats all important...nuclear option NOW.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 04:33:43 PM PDT

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