Federal Courts and Nominations

Time to End the Stupidity

Yesterday evening, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan, unanimous vote of 93-0, the Senate confirmed Robert Bacharach to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Bacharach waited 263 days for this vote from the time he was favorably reported out of the Judiciary Committee back in June 2012 with only a single vote in opposition.   Why such a long wait?  Was Bacharach, who hails from Oklahoma, opposed by his home-state Senators, Republicans James Inhofe and Tom Coburn?  No.  They both supported his nomination, and, in fact, it was Senator Coburn who recommended Bacharach to the White House.   Was there some problem with his record?  No again.

So what derailed what should have been Bacharach’s confirmation last summer?   Unfortunately, the answer is easy – Bacharach was a victim of the same unprecedented Republican obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominees that has delayed the filling of judicial vacancies since the President first took office, obstruction of even uncontroversial nominees like Bacharach.  Last July, Senate Republicans successfully filibustered Bacharach’s nomination; despite their support for Bacharach, Senators Coburn and Inhofe went along with the partisan blockade, voting “present” on cloture, the equivalent of voting no.  Senator Coburn was at least candid in calling the whole thing “stupid.”

After Bacharach’s long-delayed confirmation yesterday, Jennifer Palmieri, the White House Director of Communications, released a strong, pointed statement condemning the needless delay,  not only as to  Bacharach but also as to other nominees, and called on the Senate to act now on all of the judicial nominees pending before it.   As Palmieri stated, “These nominees deserve immediate consideration by the full Senate, and the interest of justice demands it.”

We couldn’t agree more.  It’s time to end the stupidity.

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