Republicans block another nominee to the D.C. Circuit
November 12th, 2013
07:07 PM ET
9 months ago

Republicans block another nominee to the D.C. Circuit

Washington (CNN) - Senate Republicans Tuesday blocked the President's second nominee in two weeks to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit in continuing the persistent and partisan battle over presidential nominations.

Republicans scuttled the nomination of Georgetown Law School professor Nina Pillard on a largely party line vote just as they blocked Patricia Millett 12 days ago. GOP senators argued the D.C. Circuit has enough judges to handle its caseload and President Obama should nominate judges for other courts that need additional help.

Republicans also accused the President of trying to pack the D.C. court – which is often considered second in importance to the Supreme Court - so he could win policy disputes in the courthouse that he couldn't win in Congress.

"The only way the President can successfully bypass Congress is if he stacks the court with ideological allies who will rubberstamp his Executive Orders," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a Senate floor speech.

Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid repeatedly criticized Republicans for blocking a highly qualified woman to serve on the influential court, which currently has three vacancies on the 11 seat bench.

"Senate Republicans seem poised to block confirmation of this eminently qualified woman for a blatantly political reason: to deny the President his constitutional right to appoint judges," Reid said.

Democrats argued Republicans are blocking the president's nominees because they want to maintain conservative influence on the court by preserving the four-four split on the D.C. bench between appointees of Democratic presidents and appointees of Republican presidents.

The President has also named U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins to a seat on the D.C. Circuit but Republicans have vowed to block his confirmation too.

Many frustrated Democrats are urging Reid to change Senate rules – over the objections of Republicans - to ban filibusters of the presidential nominees. Republicans warn such a move would destroy any cooperation between the parties and grind Senate action to a standstill.

Reid has threatened many times to carry out this so-called "nuclear option" but so far has held back as many veteran senators have implored him to do.


Filed under: Senate • U.S. Court of Appeals
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    The GOP Senators have such an easy job , just say no !

    What do you do when you have no new ideas , NOTHING !

    November 12, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. ladies first

    great and you and i share the same world the grass is not greener on the other side of the fencd and We are all aging as no accomplishments and the Clock is ticking

    November 12, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Thats right GOPers, keep up that OBSTRUCTION. That is what the Majority of Americans remember you for. You have lost ALL credibilty on your ability to govern. Bye Bye GOPer, you will soon go the way of the dinosaurs

    November 12, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Good grief republicans none of you will be re-elected if you keep doing nothing but acting like juveniles.

    November 12, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. gb0423

    Come on Harry, either grow a pair and change the rules or just take your spanking from the Repubs and stop whining..."Republicans warn such a move would destroy any cooperation between the parties and grind Senate action to a standstill."...that's a joke right? How can it get any worse than it is now?

    November 12, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. Norma Vessels

    The Republicans said the move to stop the filibusters would halt any cooperation on their part? Really? There's not an ounce of cooperation in them already! Stop the filibusters now. It won't hurt anything. It will most likely help move things along that have been stalled for way too long. Go for it, Senator Reid! Please. Stop the girdlock.

    November 12, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. rs

    Keep it up, boys. Your approval rate is 22% and falling. Americans disapprove of GOP's Congressional tactics by about 91%. I realize you are trying to score a perfect "0" for this Congress, but really? More delays, more filibusters? Lame.

    November 12, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  8. labman57

    Doing what they do best, today's GOP stands for "Greedy, Obstructionistic, and Petty"

    November 12, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    "Senate Republicans seem poised to block confirmation of this eminently qualified woman for a blatantly political reason: to deny the President his constitutional right to appoint judges," Reid said.

    Indeed. Now what are democrats going to do about it keep complaining or take some action?

    November 12, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  10. MaryM

    And the republican obstructionism continues.. And the republicans wonder why they have a 74% Disapproval rating. Gallup poll

    November 12, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. S. B. Stein

    Did the Democrats do this with George W. Bush's nominees? I don't think that this happened as much. Why does the GOP do it? I think because they don't want anyone in charge or to have power other than themselves.

    November 12, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  12. Name Uche Agonsi

    When will Obama critics learn where the actual problem come from. When will the Democrats learn that the Repubs can never support any healthy Obama policy, and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. When will everyone realise that cooperation under Obama Presidency by the GOPers is a mirage. When will the opinion polls reflect that is not Obama but the Repubs that are playing games with American future. When will Reid and Democrats in the Senate end this filibuster war.

    November 13, 2013 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  13. ThinkAgain

    Hey all you Dems and Independents: you need to SWEAR an oath that you will get out in 2014 and VOTE the GOP and the tea bags OUT.

    They are nothing but a waste of space and taxpayer money.

    And if you think they are bad now, just imagine what they would do to our country if they had majorities in both the House and Senate.

    November 13, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    This matter is where the founding fathers failed to achieve the separation of powers they wanted in their age and century and culture religious views it worked. Today in the bigoted non bi partisan, non negotiable house and senate ideologies nothing works as they intended.
    My solution is the American bar association for all these appointments starting at state/ commonwealth level puts up 5 nominees and the state Governer selects two nominees for Review at state level for final nomination after checks.
    Then its an up down vote in the state house and senate on the governors choice.
    Apply the same rule to courts with national influence ( = Obama's choice as of now.) likeke supreme court, etc but its an up down vote no filibusters in house and senate... these jobs are ABOUT LEGAL SKILLS/ expertise not party politics, or an individuals legal pro life or pro choice. The matters at issue are far wider than that specific topic which is religious and supposed to separate from politics and law.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    November 13, 2013 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  15. Maripil

    Blocking nominees by the president and creating sham investigations in congress is what the GOP are good at!! They have not passed one single jobs bill since they took control of the house!! Yet they complain how they have the lowest ratings in all the polls ever in history!!

    November 13, 2013 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  16. Maripil

    The GOP and tea party are a do-nothing congress!! It's a shame that they continue receiving their paychecks for obstructing anything that the president or democrats bring to the table!!

    November 13, 2013 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  17. TomInRochNY

    Time to switch things around. Presidential nominations don't need a congressional vote to be confirmed. If the congress doesn't like a nominee, they have to have a 60% disapproval vote to stop the appointment.

    November 13, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  18. king

    lesson folks, these obstructionist repubs are a danger to the average American people. they want to appoint all these so called justices that cators to big corporations and doesn't give a dam about the American people. our democracy is going down the drain right in front of our eyes. the repubs really believe that corporations are people too. and they will appoint justices to serve them, at any cost.

    November 13, 2013 07:04 am at 7:04 am |