by Nicole Flatow
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit holds the title of the nation's busiest appeals court, with twice the caseload of the next busiest circuit.
While the West Coast court experienced some relief when Jacqueline Nguyen of Los Angeles was confirmed to a Ninth Circuit judgeship just a few weeks ago, three other vacant seats remain, all of which are considered judicial emergencies by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
Paul Watford, nominated in October with broad bipartisan support, would fill one of these seats. But senators have blocked a simple up-or-down vote on his nomination.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to force a vote on Watford’s nomination. The Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture Monday, deciding whether to prevent a simple yes-or-no vote on yet another qualified, consensus nominee.
Cloture has historically been considered an extraordinary measure, particularly when it comes to judicial nominations, which the Senate once processed quickly as a matter of course. But since President Obama took office, an exasperated Reid has resorted to the measure 27 times.