Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced last night that agreement had been reached for the Senate to consider ten of President Obama’s judicial nominees over the next two weeks as part of a time agreement made with Senate Republicans. The move comes after months of Republican delay and obstruction created a backlog of 27 judicial nominees waiting for votes on the Senate floor. The vast majority of those nominees faced no opposition in the Judiciary Committee and had the support of their home state senators.
“Confirming these judges is an important step in the right direction,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way, “but we still have a long way to go. Judicial nominations have been exhibit A in Republican obstruction in Washington. Senator Reid has started to turn up the pressure, and now we’re starting to see the results.”
At the beginning of the year, President Obama was forced to re-nominate 42 people whose nominations had not received a vote in the previous Congress. As a result, all but four of the confirmation votes during the 112th Congress have been for nominees from the 111th. In many cases, in order to grind the Senate to a halt, Republicans have simply refused to allow votes.
“Americans are sick and tired of watching the Senate refuse to do its job, and that includes confirming fair minded judges to the federal bench,” said Baker. “Everyone who cares about a functioning system of justice should be happy that the logjam may be starting to break. There’s still a long way to go, and it’s clear that the only way to move forward is to continue calling the Republicans on their obstruction.”