Skip to main content

U.S. President Barack Obama meets U.S. Senate Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, October 12, 2013. The White House urged Congress on Saturday to

President Obama's judicial nominations are finally being approved, thanks to the filibuster reform Senate Democrats approved last year, allowing for simple majority votes to advance judicial and executive nominations. In fact, confirmation of Obama's judicial nominees is outpacing the rate for the two previous presidents.
Before the Senate left town for recess last week, it confirmed the president's 52nd circuit nominee, Pamela Harris, to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, by a vote of 50-43.

At the end of his sixth year, George W. Bush confirmed 51 circuit judges; Bill Clinton confirmed 50 circuit judges.

The Senate has been historically unproductive in the 113th Congress but Democrats have worked to speedily confirm Obama nominees before the November elections, when Republicans have a serious chance at regaining control.

Outpacing his predecessors this year doesn't catch Obama up with nominations, though, largely because vacancies have been increasing in the last two years, whereas they declined for both Clinton and Bush in the fifth and sixth years of their terms. The White House, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have made getting judges through this year a priority, and it's mostly working, but still slowed by Republican foot-dragging.

Senate Republicans have been thwarting the process in a number of ways, from refusing to provide Obama with candidates for nomination, as is traditionally considered part of their duty, and in holding back "blue slips," the traditional courtesy that allows home state senators to advance nominations in the Judiciary Committee. And when a nominee gets through committee, Republicans insist on using up every bit of debate time the rules currently allow them, making the process of confirming these nominees excruciatingly slow.

But last year's reforms are still helping move nominees, so Senate Democrats should be encouraged about enacting further reforms on nominations. They have two opportunities, short of the full-on nuclear option dealing away with filibusters entirely. Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy could forego the blue-slip process and get nominees through his committee more quickly. And Democrats could reform the Senate rules to limit the amount of time for debate on nominees. The "use it or lose it" reform would do just that—if Republicans aren't using debate time to actually debate a nominee, they forfeit it. These are some pretty commonsense reforms that could ease the ongoing crisis in judicial vacancies.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 11:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site