by Samantha Berkovits
The myth of the so-called “Thurmond Rule,” that confirmations of appeals court nominees should halt during election season, is interfering with efforts to fill the 76 federal judicial vacancies remaining around the nation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) invoked the “rule” to stop progress on pending federal appeals court nominees such as First Circuit nominee William Kayatta Jr., even though Maine’s two republican senators have called for a floor vote. Tenth Circuit nominee Robert Bacharach has been similarly held up, but his home-state senators have yet to speak out against the “Thurmond Rule” or call for a floor vote.
The Senate confirmed John T. Fowlkes Jr. to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Tennessee, and it will hold a confirmation vote July 16 on Kevin McNulty for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Three more district court nominees, Terrence G. Berg, for the Eastern District of Michigan; Jesus G. Bernal, for the Central District of California; and Lorna G. Schofield, for the Southern District of New York were reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.