by Nicole Flatow
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid succeeded in pushing through yet another noncontroversial judicial nominee Monday night, after filing the 29th motion to invoke cloture on a judicial nominee since President Obama took office.
Senators never voted on the motion -- they agreed by unanimous consent to consider the nomination of Michael A. Shipp to the New Jersey federal district court and then voted overwhelmingly 91-1 to confirm him. But the fact that Reid’s cloture motion was even necessary is the latest evidence of the degraded process for confirming judicial nominees.
Shipp was the first African American magistrate in the District of New Jersey, and was approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a voice vote without any stated opposition. His nomination was blocked when Sen. Rand Paul refused to consent to a vote on Shipp – a political move to push for a vote on wholly unrelated legislation to halt aid to Pakistan.
This is not the first time Sen. Paul has exploited a nomination for political capital.