by Nicole Flatow
The U.S. Senate confirmed Paul Watford to a judicial emergency seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Monday evening, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to force a vote on his nomination.
Watford’s confirmation will provide some much-needed relief to the Ninth Circuit, which has more than twice the caseload of the next busiest circuit.
But the confirmation vote came only after Reid filed a motion to force a vote – the 27th he has had to file on President Obama’s judicial nominees. Before the scheduled cloture vote, senators agreed to instead hold an up-or-down vote on his nomination and confirmed him 61-34.
That a cloture motion was needed to secure a vote on Watford appalled Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and others. After all, Watford had glowing endorsements from a host of prominent conservatives, including two former presidents of the Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter of the Federalist Society, two bloggers from the conservative legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy, and the general counsels for four major corporations.
Jeremy Rosen, one of the former presidents of the Federalist Society's Los Angeles Lawyer Chapter, called Watford a "home run" in a letter supporting his nomination, adding, "[E]veryone who knows Paul (whether they are conservative or liberal, or somewhere in between) recognizes that he possesses the qualities that are most needed in an appellate judge."