Reid pushes to break filibusters of 17 judges
March 12th, 2012
05:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Reid pushes to break filibusters of 17 judges

Washington (CNN) - Frustrated by what he calls Republican "obstructionism" of President Obama's judicial picks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday he would force votes this week to break GOP filibusters of 17 district court nominees.

Democrats hope the unusual and high profile series of votes will pressure Republicans to clear the judges. If they don't, Democrats say it will reinforce their contention that Republicans are responsible for the congressional dysfunction and gridlock that surveys show voters abhor.

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"We should have up or down votes," Reid said in a speech on the Senate floor. "These kind of qualified, consensus nominees that in years' past would have been confirmed in days or weeks now languish for months and months with no action. There are judges on this list who go back to November of last year."

The Nevada Democrat displayed a chart showing it takes five times as long to get an Obama pick confirmed than it took when Republican George W. Bush was president. The inaction, he said, is leading to backlogs in many courts.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, a veteran member of the Judiciary Committee, acknowledged the confirmation process is taking longer but denied Republicans are mounting filibusters against the judges.

"This is just the normal flow of the confirmation process. There were 60 or 70 judges confirmed last year. Five have already been confirmed this year. Many more will be confirmed in the normal process," Sessions told CNN. "All it is, is they haven't been given unanimous consent to bring up for an immediate vote. I think it's fine the judges lay out there. The people have a chance to know who they are in their home states and if they've got problems sometimes they're raised. But I think this is an overreach. I think are members are pretty offended actually."

The 17 votes are expected to come one after the other Wednesday. The whole process could take most of the day.

Leadership aides in both parties declined to predict if Reid's gambit would result in the confirmation of any of the judges, as he would have to pick up several Republican votes to get the 60 votes needed to succeed.

But Sessions didn't think it would work.

"I don't speak for everyone but I think this is more of a political gimmick to try to create a narrative of obstruction here but I don't' think the Republicans are going to knuckle under to that," he said.

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Filed under: Congress • Harry Reid
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. king

    Its amazing how the gullibles will put up with this tyranny of repubs obstructionism. When will the people of this great nation wake up to the fact, and see the games the repubs have been playing for the past 3 and a half years. They have built up a fake economy when the meld office for 8 years, then scream about unemployment, and values.

    March 13, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  2. Dave

    "If they don't, Democrats say it will reinforce their contention that Republicans are responsible for the congressional dysfunction and gridlock that surveys show voters abhor."
    It's not a contention; it's the truth. All the GOP is good for obstructionism. What goes around comes around...

    March 13, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  3. scratching my head over that one

    Sessions didn't address a main fact- judges were confirmed 5 times faster when Bush was president. He mouthed empty words, as usual for a politician.

    March 13, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  4. Tom

    Pot meet kettle

    March 13, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  5. AllThatsLeft

    What does it say about obstruction when you have a president that is about to finish his first term and still hasn't had his appointments put in place. If Obama loses does that mean that none of this matters and the new Republican president would just put their guys in while the appointment made during Obama's time in office were just held in limbo?
    Republicans are the true Communists in this country because just like Communism they believe in a single party rule, Republican. If they can't get what they want then they delegitimize and obstruct the entire time the other party has control. They are spoiled brats who either takes their ball and goes home or tries to ruin the game for everybody else and hiding from the Gop led Congress's 10% approval the country is tired of dealing with the brats and their temper tantrums.

    March 13, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  6. Ken in MD

    OK, Republicans. Time to do the jobs you were elected (and are being well paid by the taxpayers) to do. Up or down, vote either way, but VOTE!!!

    March 13, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. rla

    This from the person who drove Obama care over our objections , has crafted no budget in three years and will not bring to a vote anything that comes out of the House??? Please we know who the people obstructing AMERICA and it isn't the repiblicans!!

    March 13, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. Wayne

    Exactly why we have racist judges sending e-mails. republicans will stall so they can place more racists of their choosing on the bench. We have too many of those now. Business as usual by the reich wing.

    March 13, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Lisa P

    You know the GOP is in trouble when the only Senator who will defend their actions is Jeff Sessions, Judicial Obstructor in Chief. Sit down, Jeff, lift your holds, and let the vote proceed already!

    March 13, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. george of the jungle

    hey screw your jobs screw your healthcare, screw your taxes or wars or womens rights. All the party of No cares about is beating president Obama. If they do that watch your taexes go up if your middleclass watch a big push against women and look out for another war. Obama 2012

    March 13, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Larry L

    The way the filibuster is used by Republicans is best described as political terrorism. They have worked hard to make all initiatives fail – so they can achieve their one stated goal – defeat of President Obama in 2012. The filibuster rule needs to return to filibusters on the floor only and I strongly support the "no budget – no pay" initiative.

    March 13, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. doublestandardssuck

    LOL! Bush's went through faster because he had a Republican house D/A! Let's look at how things went through in 2007 & 2008 when he had a DEM house, shall we? BOTH SIDES DO IT and equally as bad. Double standards indeed.

    March 13, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Ivan

    @ AllThatsLeft

    Apparently you do not know what true Communism is .

    Look at Obama care. Communism
    Look at Obama judge appointments. Communism
    Look at Acorn stuffing 1.3 million votes for Obama. Communism.
    Look at Obama subsiding businesses that go bankrupt. Communism.

    Wake up and stop drinking the Obama Koolaid.

    March 13, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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