by Nicole Flatow
Senate Republicans voted in favor of obstruction Monday evening simply because it is July 2012, blocking an up-or-down vote on a federal appeals court nominee many of them supported.
With a vote of 56-34-3, the Senate fell short of the 60 senators needed to force a confirmation vote on Tenth Circuit nominee Robert Bacharach, who had the endorsement of both of his home-state Republican senators, was rated unanimously well-qualified by the American Bar Association and was approved by all but one member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This vote marks the first time that a judicial nominee reported by the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support has been blocked on the Senate floor. It also sets a new standard for filibusters of judicial nominees.
The two Oklahoma Republican senators who have consistently expressed strong support for Bacharach were among the senators who blocked a vote Monday, both voting “present,” even as Sen. Tom Coburn said Bacharach is “exactly what we want on our court,” and Sen. Jim Inhofe called him “one of the best nominees.”
In voting against the cloture motion, senators cited the so-called “Thurmond Rule,” a myth that there is an expiration date for confirming judges, which has been dispelled by legal experts.