This Week on

February 17, 2012
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) overcame a filibuster of Adalberto Jose Jordán to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and secured his confirmation by a vote of 94-5. Reid had filed a motion to invoke cloture and force a vote on his nomination, and senators approved the motion 89-5. But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), seeking to gain leverage for an unrelated proposal to cut off aid to Egypt until American detainees are released, exploited a procedural rule and refused to consent to a vote before the permitted 30 hours for “debate” had lapsed. One hundred and ninety seven days elapsed between his nomination and confirmation.
Just after the vote that finally confirmed Jordán, Reid filed a motion to invoke cloture on another nominee, federal prosecutor Jesse Furman, to be a judge on the Southern District of New York. Before the vote to invoke cloture, Furman opponents dropped their opposition and permitted an up-or-down vote. His nomination was confirmed 62-34. When in committee, Furman’s confirmation received unanimous support from all members, both Democrats and Republicans. Among the 34 senators to vote against him on the Senate floor were Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), all Senate Judiciary Committee members who had previously not opposed his confirmation.
Following the vote, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “I commend the Majority Leader for pressing forward to obtain a vote on the nomination of Jesse Furman, finally bringing to an end the 5-month Republican filibuster of this nomination. It should not have taken five months and the filing of a cloture petition to secure a vote on this superbly qualified, consensus nominee.” 
The Senate Judiciary Committee also held a hearing Wednesday for one circuit court and three district court nominees. The next day, the committee held over the nomination of one circuit court nominee and reported out four district court nominees, with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) voting in the negative on each.
Finally, the president continues to nominate federal judges, especially those who would fill judicial emergencies. He nominated Jill A. Pryor, an Atlanta-based litigator, to fill a judicial emergency on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. In January, Georgia Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss indicated that they support her nomination to the federal judiciary. He also nominated Elissa F. Cadish to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, Paul William Grimm to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and Mark E. Walker to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
The latest from “In the News
  • “Senate confirms Cuban-born judge to 11th Circuit,” from The Associated Press
  • “Outlook improving for some judicial nominees,” from Legal Newsline
  • “Leahy: GOP would filibuster biblical character Moses,” from The Hill
The latest from “Recommended Readings
  • “Congress Has No Date for the Prom,” from The New York Times
  • “Rand Paul Throws Judicial Filibuster Tantrum Over Foreign Policy Disagreement,” from ThinkProgress
  • “90-day up-or-down vote on presidential nominations,” from The Hill
  • Sen. Leahy on Confirmation of Judge Furman
  • Sen. Leahy on Filibuster of Furman Nomination
  • Sen. Leahy on Nomination of Judge Adalberto Jordán to Eleventh Circuit