The Senate ended its 2011 session on Saturday, leaving 21 judicial nominees on its calendar. All but two of the abandoned nominees were supported by a bipartisan majority of the Judiciary Committee. Under none of the previous four presidents has the Senate left noncontroversial nominees without a vote at the end of a session.
“The Senate GOP’s agenda of obstruction is nowhere clearer than in its obstinate refusal to confirm these nominees,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “When they refused to end their filibuster of Caitlin Halligan this month, Senate Republicans moved the goalpost on what constitutes a controversial nominee. They have now moved the goalpost on the expected treatment of nominees who even they acknowledge are eminently qualified and noncontroversial. American courts are struggling to meet the needs of individuals and businesses seeking justice under the law. The Senate GOP, however, is more interested in creating gridlock than fulfilling its responsibility to ensure a fair and functioning judiciary.”
Nine of the pending nominees have been nominated to fill seats designated as judicial emergencies, and fourteen are women or people of color.