The Senate is in the midst of a marathon session forced by Mitch McConnell and his minions in full revenge mode. In retaliation for the Democrats changing the rules on nominations to end Republican filibusters, Republicans insisted on using up every bit of time available to delay votes as long as possible, by insisting on using all 30 hours of possible debate on nominees. The tactic merely delays the inevitable, as the
final confirmation vote for Nina Pillard
took place anyway. Pillard was confirmed, 51-44 at 1:00 Thursday morning.
"I thank the Senate for confirming Nina Pillard to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which for the first time, will have five active female judges on the bench," Obama said in a statement. "Throughout her career, Ms. Pillard has displayed an unwavering commitment to justice and integrity. Her landmark accomplishments on behalf of women and families include Supreme Court cases defending the constitutionality of the Family and Medical Leave Act and opening the doors of the Virginia Military Institute to female students. I’m confident she will be a diligent, thoughtful and judicious addition to the D.C. Circuit."
Pillard's work on gender equality has drawn comparisons to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the Supreme Court's liberal wing, who was a D.C. Circuit judge before becoming a justice.
Pillard's work on gender equality and reproductive health rights also caused three ConservaDems to vote against her confirmation: Joe Manchin (WV), Mark Pryor (AR) and Joe Donnelly (IN). They apparently endorse Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) hyperventilating
over Pillard as "the most hard noise, fire breathing liberal" who will "change the judiciary forever." Okay, then.
The Senate then spent the night listening to Republicans complain about Obamacare and the nuclear option while the 30 clock wound down on the nomination of Chai Feldblum to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who was confirmed, 54-41. Then they complained for another three hours before voting on Elizabeth Wolford's nomination to be a district judge for New York. She was confirmed, 70-29.
Majority Leader Harry Reid might be exasperated by Republican tactics, but that isn't going to stop pushing through these nominations. He has threatened to keep the Senate in through Christmas if Republicans insist on these delaying tactics with every nomination. Because the Senate will do its job of confirming the nominees the president puts forward.
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