GOP blocks yet another Obama judge nominee
November 18th, 2013
06:47 PM ET
9 months ago

GOP blocks yet another Obama judge nominee

Updated 6:58 p.m. ET, 11/18/2013

Washington (CNN) - For the third time in three weeks, Senate Republicans blocked a nominee of President Obama's to be a judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals, a powerful court often considered second in influence to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On a vote of 53 to 38, Democratic supporters fell short of the 60 votes they needed to break a filibuster of nominee Robert Wilkins, who is currently a U.S. District Court judge in Washington.

In rejecting Wilkins, Republicans reiterated their opposition to adding a judge to a court they believe already has more judges than it needs to meet its workload. In addition, they said they didn't want to disrupt the balance on the bench, which is currently evenly divided between judges appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents.

GOP senators even accused the President of trying to pack the court, which is often the final arbiter of key constitutional questions and other issues related to presidential powers.

"It's clear they are trying to pack the court so they can have their judges pass legislation they can never get through the Congress," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said recently. "I don't think Republicans are going to roll over on this."

Democrats were already frustrated the two other nominees - Patricia Millet and Nina Pillard - were blocked. Sen. Dick Durbin, the second ranking Senate Democrat, called the filibuster of Wilkins "disgraceful."

"The Senate does not have the right to unilaterally determine that certain judicial seats and posts should never be filled by certain presidents. That's exactly what's happening today in the United States Senate," Durbin said. "There's no question Judge Wilkins has the experience, qualifications, and integrity to be an outstanding circuit court judge."

In a statement Monday, President Obama said he was "deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have once again refused to do their job and give well-qualified nominees to the federal bench the yes-or-no votes they deserve."

The nominees received the highest possible rating from the nonpartisan American Bar Association and have bipartisan support, Obama said. "This obstruction is completely unprecedented. Four of my predecessor's six nominees to the D.C. Circuit were confirmed. Four of my five nominees to this court have been obstructed."

With three vacancies on the 11-seat bench, Durbin called Republican obstruction of the nominees "exhibit A in the abuse of the filibuster."

Some Democrats want to change Senate rules over the objection of Republicans to prevent filibusters of the President's appointees. To this point Democratic leaders have refused to take that dramatic step, which is known as the "nuclear option" because it would destroy cooperation between the parties. But the idea has gained steam in recent weeks even among some veteran Democratic senators who have been reluctant to change the rules.


Filed under: President Obama • Senate Republicans
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "which is known as the "nuclear option" because it would destroy cooperation between the parties. "

    Oh whatever. If that's your ridiculous definition of "nuclear option" then apparently the mere fact of a black Democrat being elected POTUS was the "nuclear option," because the second the polls closed on November 4, 2008 and the votes indicated he had won, the GOP/Teatrolls swore of all cooperation whatsoever.

    November 18, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: Hey, GOP, where's our $24 billion reimbursement check?

    "In addition, they said they didn't want to disrupt the balance on the bench, which is currently evenly divided between judges appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents."

    News flash, GOP: YOU LOST IN 2008 AND 2012.

    Stop obstructing the will of the people!!!!!!!!

    November 18, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    The GOP is on a roll. They are determined to do whatever they can to try and destroy this President. Not gonna happen GOPers. The Majority of Americans know President Obama is TRYING to help America and Americans. And all the GOP does is Obstruct.

    November 18, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    GOP is gone to dogs. Sure.

    November 18, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  5. Tony in Maine

    end the filibuster – end the senatorial hold – end the tyranny of a minority

    I am fully aware that a day could come when the Republicans control the Senate, but the idea of minority rules is anathema regardless of whose ox is gored.

    November 18, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Evergreen

    There is no copperation between the parties, so change the rules. Too much time has been wasted with this non-sense.

    November 18, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Well Harry, When are you going to drop the bomb on these traitors and use the nuclear option? Don't you realize that they are demented and cannot be dealt with like gentlemen?

    November 18, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    And these clowns are talking about impeaching Eric Holder? i think we should impeach every republican member of congess for theft of their salaries ever since Obama was first inaugurated and for attempting to bring down the government. their behavior has been nothing short of treasonous. no one who supports these thugs can call themselves a patriot.

    November 18, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  9. Erik

    Why don't they simply make the jerks speak during their filibuster rather than simply declare a filibuster?

    November 18, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. jinx9to88

    "It's clear they are trying to pack the court so they can have their judges pass legislation they can never get through the Congress,". Elections have consequences!!! Soooooo your saying if Mittens would have one the GOP wouldn't be doing it? You GOP scrubs would be doing the same exact thing. I can't stand these Repubs.

    November 18, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. jinx9to88

    If Dems win in 2014 they need to change the Senate rule if the GOP continues to do this crap!!!!

    November 18, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. Sheila

    If I was Obama, I wouldn't worry too much about it....When ( or If ) the mid-terms go his way, he will be able to do what he wants, anyway....Maybe for the first time in history, we can have at least the SCOTUS lean more towards the middle, or possibly a little left leaning.

    November 18, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    More of the same from the do Nothing constructive Republican Tea Party senators.

    November 18, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I don't have to go into detail about what the Republicans are doing. It is blatantly obvious. It is just one more reason,
    of which there are many, to distrust Republicans. If they are concerned that the President is "trying to pack the
    Court", then they are quilty of doing just that. They cannnot win anything on their own merits, because they have
    none. They rely totally on the SCOTUS to drag their behinds out of every dishonest trick they pull, and so far,
    the Supreme Court has obliged them. Pathetic.

    November 18, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. S. B. Stein

    I can't wait to hear an explanation as to why this person and others were denied a vote up or down.

    November 18, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    PS: Sorry Orrin, you lost your credibility when you sold your soul to the Tea Party after they threatened you
    with a "primary". You "rolled over" for them to save your cushey job and the perks you are so used to.
    Keep writing those Christian hymns, and maybe one day your own words will sink into your heart.

    November 18, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  17. PoliticiansRCrooks

    Notice the term in the "SENATE" last I checked the SENATE is majority DEMOCRATS so in fact the Democrat Nominee maybe the issue NOT Republicans..............

    November 18, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  18. PoliticiansRCrooks

    Notice the term in the "SENATE" last I checked the SENATE is majority DEMOCRATS so in fact the Democrat Nominee maybe the issue NOT Republicans

    November 18, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  19. pkMyt1

    More of the Grand Obstructionist Party at work. They have no idea what to do but they certainly have ideas on how to keep anything else from being done.

    November 18, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  20. bigd9749

    So now the Republicans admit they have no good reason just want to stop anything the Prez tries to do, they don't care about the country just about their hate. Please vote these traitors out.

    November 18, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  21. bigd9749

    Even if the Republicans gain the White House the Demos will not forget and that means 8-16 more years of a goverment that gets nothing done, this needs to stop

    November 18, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  22. soleil

    The Democrats must exercise the so-called nuclear option immediately.

    November 19, 2013 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  23. El Lobo

    If Harry Reid isnt going to put and end to this we need someone else who do the job he is supposed to do. Why should we support the Dems with time and money if he wont do the right thing and push the obstructionist to the side. This is beyond senate rules and procedures. Move it or lose Senator.

    November 19, 2013 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  24. Marie MD

    The teaklans are gong to have a big problem in the coming years because there will be another Dem president come 2016. They can't continue to vote against everything and everyone.

    November 19, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  25. RomneyWho

    Obstruction, obstruction and yet, more obstruction! Everybody just sit on your hands until our president term is over . . . Even if it means our country may plunge into the crapper and all of the progress made since 2008 and on, will get flushed, We the republican leadership are willing to sacrifice the sheep to the slaughter for the preservation of The "Good Ol' Boy Club"! :(

    November 19, 2013 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
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