For the third time in two weeks Senate Republicans have blocked the president’s nominee to fill one of three vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The DC court is considered the one of the most powerful courts in the land, second only to the Supreme Court, because it holds jurisdiction over challenges to executive orders and government regulatory policy. It is no coincidence that several Supreme Court justices have come from the DC Circuit.
The 11 seat court is currently occupied by 4 Democrat appointments, 4 Republican appointments and three vacancies.
Republicans used the filibuster to block a vote on the president’s nominee knowing the Democrats could not produce the 60 votes needed to end cloture. The act sent Democrats into a tirade…again…renewing their threat to amend the senate rules to allow approval of the president’s nominee by a simple majority. The only thing stopping Majority Leader Reid from using his authority to act on the threat is the knowledge that his party will one day find itself in the minority and wish to make use of the filibuster rule.
For their part, Republicans said that they were not blocking the president’s nominees for political reasons but simply because they did not feel that the court’s workload warranted filling the three vacancies. They accused the president of trying to “pack” the court.
This assertion is as disingenuous as it is factually incorrect.
First of all “packing the court” is what FDR was doing when he tried to add 6 seats to the already 9 seat court to he could push through his agenda unabated by his opposition. The president is simply attempting to fill the three vacant seats that already exist…something he has every right to do.
And the nonsense about the court’s workload is just pure unadulterated political bull. Republicans are simply continuing to do what they have done for the 5 years the president has been in office…use every tool at their disposal to stop his agenda. If a Republican were sitting in the White House you can rest assured that he/she would be filling those seats…workload be damned.
Congressional Republicans have abused the filibuster to the extent that the government cannot function. Maybe Harry Reid should change the rules as is his right.
If Republicans want to run the show in Washington they might stop using gimmicks and start by winning an election.