by Jeremy Leaming
Republicans keeping to their obstructionist ways blocked an effort by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid to force votes on 17 district court nominations that have languished in the chamber.
Obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominations has been ongoing since the start of his first term, and the federal bench has a record number of vacancies, more than 80. Sen. Reid had called for unanimous consent to secure confirmation votes for 17 district court nominations. “There are places around the country where we have judges who are tremendously overworked on these cases,” Reid said.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the move, claiming the president has been treated fairly.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, who has consistently called out Republicans’ obstruction of the president’s judicial selections, decried today’s action.
Leahy noted that Obama’s predecessors did not face this kind of trouble appointing judges to the federal bench, especially district court judges.
“However,” Leahy said in a press statement, “Senate Republicans have raised the level of partisanship so that these Federal trial court nominees have now become wrapped around the axle of partisanship. Despite a vacancy crisis that threatens the ability of Federal courts to provide justice for the American people, Senate Republicans now refuse to allow a vote on any of the 17 pending district court nominees, including 12 that have been declared judicial emergency vacancies.”