by Nicole Flatow
Ramping up his aggressive push to fill long-vacant seats on the federal courts, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the extraordinary measure Monday of filing motions to force votes on all 17 district court nominees pending on the Senate floor.
“Republicans have refused to allow us to even vote - won't even allow us to vote - on these qualified judicial nominees,” Reid said. “Republicans have prevented the Senate from doing its constitutional duty and that's what it is.”
Motions to invoke cloture have historically been considered extraordinary even when filed one at a time. But the filing of 17 cloture petitions on district court nominees is an unprecedented measure, taken to clear some of the 83 vacancies that continue to plague the federal trial courts.
“Unfortunately, Republicans have forced our hand,” Reid said. “What else can we do?”
All 17 of these nominees would fill seats on the federal trial courts, and half of those seats are considered judicial emergencies.