Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell today blocked confirmation votes on two nominees to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judges James Wynn and Albert Diaz of North Carolina. North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan attempted to move the two nominations, both of which have received strong bipartisan support.
If confirmed, Diaz will be the first Latino to serve on the Fourth Circuit, and Wynn will be the fourth African American.
McConnell said he planned to stall the judges’ confirmations in response to President Obama’s recess appointment of Donald Berwick to head Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:
“For the past two years, Republican members of Congress have devoted themselves to the absolute obstruction of the work the American people have hired them to do. Today’s action is yet another example of their favorite unproductive strategy. Sen. Hagan has worked hard and reached across party lines to appoint two clearly qualified judges to a circuit with far too many vacancies. Sen. McConnell and his party’s response has been to throw a temper tantrum over affordable health care.
“Republicans didn’t succeed in stopping health care reform, and now, it seems, they are venting their frustrations by deliberately jamming up the justice system. That kind of behavior isn’t tolerated in a playground, and it shouldn’t be allowed in the U.S. Senate.”