President Barack Obama twice called for reform of the filibuster-one of the procedural tactics that has been used to block confirmation of judicial nominees-this week: first during a meeting with liberal bloggers and again during an appearance on "The Daily Show." "What we've been seeing is unprecedented, and that makes it very difficult for us to move forward," Obama told host Jon Stewart. During his earlier meeting with progressive bloggers, the president said the filibuster is not in the Constitution and "may have arisen purely by accident because somebody didn't properly apply Robert's Rules of Procedure and forgot to get a provision in there about what was required to close debate. And folks figured out very early, this could be a powerful tool. It was used as a limited tool throughout its history. Sadly, the primary way it was used was to prevent African Americans from achieving civil rights."
The filibuster and other procedural measures have allowed a minority in the Senate to impede the confirmation of qualified nominees, leading to a critical number of vacancies on the federal bench. Matthew Yglesias, a fellow with the Center for American Progress Action Fund, touches on this connection in a video podcast interview with ACSblog here.
• 10/29/10 - "Rejection of Schumer's Choice Complicates Filling Bench Vacancy" in The New York Law Journal
• 10/25/10 - "Obama's Isle Judicial Pick Stalled" in the Star Advertiser
• 10/19/10 - "Commodity Futures Trading Commission judge says colleague biased against complainants" in The Washington Post
• 10/24/10 - "Judges Delayed, Justice Denied" in The Akron Beacon Journal
• 10/22/10 - "Calling Justice Roberts" in The New York Times
• 10/29/10 - Matthew Yglesias of the Center for American Progress speaks about the filibuster and the pace of judicial confirmations on ACSblog.
• 10/29/10 - President Obama Speaks about the Filibuster on "The Daily Show"
To follow the latest news about judicial nominations, visit JudicialNominations.org, a website developed by ACS to track nominees, delays, and the continuing vacancy crisis. Bookmark JudicialNominations.org to keep abreast of the latest developments, and follow us on Facebook to receive regular updates.