Federal Courts and Nominations

Vote Monday is Key Test in Escalating Partisan War over the Federal Judiciary

Cloture vote to be held on Oklahoma Nominee Despite Support of Senators Coburn and Inhofe

                          

Washington, DC – On news that a cloture vote will be held this coming Monday, July 30, on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Constitutional Accountability Center President Doug Kendall said, “You could not find a less controversial judicial nominee than Robert Bacharach.  The cloture vote on Monday will be a huge test of how far Senate Republicans are willing to go in terms of letting mindless partisan politics trump the dire needs of an independent judiciary.”

 

Kendall continued, “Judge Bacharach has the strong support of both of his conservative Republican home-state Senators and the overwhelming bipartisan support of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was given the ABA’s highest rating.  Senator Coburn is right that it’s ‘stupid’ for Senate Republicans to block a vote on this truly uncontroversial nominee.  For our government to work the way America’s Founders designed it, this Senate Republican blockade of nominees like Robert Bacharach must stop.”

 

FACTS:

 

*  Tom Coburn, the conservative Republican  junior U.S. Senator from Oklahoma said, “I believe that Judge Bacharach will uphold the highest standards and reflect the best in our American judicial tradition by coming to the bench as a well-regarded member of the community.” Speaking about the possible blockade of a Senate floor vote on Judge Bacharach, Sen. Coburn said, “I think it’s stupid.” http://newsok.com/oklahoma-sen.-tom-coburn-says-gop-may-block-appellate-nominee-from-oklahoma-city/article/3682374/?page=1

 

*  Conservative Republican James Inhofe – Oklahoma’s senior U.S. Senator – also has high praise for Judge Bacharach, saying, “He is a great guy” and that “it is kind of rare that the Obama White House and I agree on anything. He (Bacharach) is a person that has done a good job.” http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=335&articleid=20120124_14_A5_WASHIN903301

 

*  During President Obama’s first term, conservatives in the Senate, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have taken the unprecedented step of blocking yes or no votes on even the most uncontroversial judicial nominees, resulting in a significant increase in vacancies over the course of the last four years, reversing the typical trend.  President Obama’s nominees have waited an average of 111 days for a vote on the Senate floor, which is more than three times longer than the average waiting time of President George W. Bush’s nominees. Source: CAC judicial database.  See also:

 

—  “Vacancy Crisis Update: Senate Must Act Now and Throughout 2012 to Reduce Pressure on Federal Courts” January 19, 2012: http://theusconstitution.org/text-history/1247/vacancy-crisis-update-80-vacancies-936-days-and-counting

 

—  “Confirmation Warriors: What’s the endgame for Obama’s judicial nominees?” Doug Kendall, October 8, 2010: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2010/10/confirmation_warriors.html

 

—  “The Bench in Purgatory: The new Republican obstructionism on Obama’s judicial nominees” Doug Kendall, October 26, 2009: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2009/10/the_bench_in_purgatory.html

 

*  Currently, there are 20 federal judicial nominees awaiting a vote on the Senate floor. Ten of those nominees would fill seats that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has designated “judicial emergencies” (meaning that the workload of those judicial seats is so heavy that qualified judicial personnel are acutely needed).

 

—  http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/executive_calendar/xcalv.pdf (calendar dated Thursday, 7/26/2012)

 

—  http://www.uscourts.gov/JudgesAndJudgeships/JudicialVacancies/JudicialEmergencies.aspx

 

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Constitutional Accountability Center (www.theusconstitution.org) is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.

 

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