"Today, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made what I think is the hardest-edged, most direct and sustained criticism of the Republican minority's campaign of holds and filibusters on Obama administration and judicial nominees," writes Dave Weigel at The Washington Independent.
Beginning with the hold on President Obama's nomination for Surgeon General, Senator Reid detailed a number of nominations subject to what one observer called "unprecedented" obstruction by senators seeking leverage on pet issues. Among those nominations still pending before the Senate are a number of Assistant Attorneys General, including that of former ACS board member Dawn Johnsen to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
Of the nominations that were held up, but have since proceeded to the Senate floor, Reid stated, "When votes were finally called, they passed with flying colors: They passed with vote counts of 89-2, 97-1, 88-0 and 97-0. The numbers don't lie, and there's no clearer evidence that many of these objections are without merit.
Reid did not hesitate to compare the pace of nominations in Obama's first year at the White House with those announced during the first years of the second Bush presidency:
The Senate has confirmed 366 of President Obama's nominees. How does this compare historically? At this point in President Bush's first term, 421 of his nominees were already at their desks. At this point in President Clinton's first term, 379 nominees were on the job. And 480 of President Reagan's nominees were confirmed. But Senate Republicans have only allowed President Obama 366.
In fact, in the first four months of the Bush Administration, when the Senate was controlled by the President's party and we were in the minority, there wasn't a single filibuster of a Bush nominee. Not one.
But in the first four months of the Obama Administration, Republicans filibustered eight of his nominees. That means that President Obama faced twice as many filibusters of his nominees in his first four months as President Bush faced in his first four years.