The Senate on Tuesday confirmed two judicial nominees to federal district court seats considered judicial emergencies. Mary Phillips was confirmed 95-2 to the Western District of Missouri and Thomas Rice was confirmed to the Eastern District of Washington by a vote of 93-4. But the Senate left behind 18 others who were ripe for an immediate up-or-down vote. “A mere two confirmation votes are disgracefully less than what is needed to clear the backlog and restore a functioning court system to the American people,” People for the American Way notes on its blog. “It isn't even enough to make up for the anticipated four nominations that the Judiciary Committee will likely advance to the floor later this week, resulting in a net increase in the backlog.”
As expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee did approve four more district court nominees on Thursday, bringing the total number of nominees awaiting a vote by the full Senate to 22.
The Washington Post reports that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning an effort to force up-or-down voteson a bundle of nominees. With 18 nominations currently pending on the floor, the newspaper suggests that Reid might try to push most if not all of them.