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Harry Reid, Obama Sell Myth of GOP Obstructing Judicial Nominations

Dems were significantly slower with — and blocked more of — Bush's nominees.

by
Hans A. von Spakovsky

Bio

July 24, 2013 - 12:00 am
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The rush by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to push through President Obama’s latest judicial nominees before their records can be thoroughly reviewed is underway. On June 4, while announcing his nomination of three more judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, President Obama repeated what has become a Democratic mantra: Republican senators are unfairly blocking judicial nominees with “unprecedented” use of the filibuster. It’s gotten so bad, the president noted, that his nominees wind up waiting three times longer than George Bush’s to be confirmed.

It’s a great tale of political victimization. But it’s a myth.

Since President Obama took office, the Senate has confirmed 201 of his judicial nominations, including two Supreme Court justices. If that’s a blockade, it’s mighty porous.

Indeed, the Senate has rejected only two of the president’s judicial nominees.

During George W. Bush’s presidency, Senate Democrats filibustered 10 judicial nominees, defeating five of them. Compared to Bush, President Obama enjoys a tremendous success rate with his judicial nominations.

Nor can Republicans be charged with unprecedented “slow-walking” of nominations. After all, Senate Democrats denied Peter Keisler, Bush’s nominee to the D.C. Circuit, a vote for almost three years. Compare that to the unanimous May confirmation of Sri Srinivasan for the same court, which is a far cry from the claim that Republicans “continue to hold up a record number” of judicial nominees.

Bush’s circuit court nominees had to wait an average of 283 days for confirmation after being nominated; Obama’s nominees have had to wait for 240 days.

Why, then, are there so many court vacancies? The main reason is the slowness with which President Obama has made judicial nominations.

He has nominated judges for only about a third of the current vacancies in federal courts — a significantly lower percentage than either George Bush or Bill Clinton.

Of the 33 declared judicial “emergencies,” President Obama has submitted nominations for only eight — and four of those came in June. It’s hard to see how this can be the Republicans’ fault when the Constitution specifically gives the president the power to nominate judges.

As for Mr. Obama’s plea back in June? There is no emergency or “urgent court” vacancy in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that requires quick confirmation of the three nominees announced that day. In fact, the D.C. court is one of the most underworked courts in the nation.

In July 2006, eight Democratic senators led by Patrick Leahy (VT) and Chuck Schumer (NY) sent a letter to Arlen Specter, then the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking for a postponement of Peter Keisler’s confirmation hearing for the D.C. Circuit. Why? Because the court’s workload “did not warrant” more judges. They pointed out that, since 1997, “by every relevant benchmark, the caseload for that circuit has only dropped further.”

In 2006 when the senators complained about the Circuit’s low workload, there were 1,380 appeals filed with the court. Last year, there were only 1,200.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, the D.C. Circuit has only “108 appeals per authorized judge, compared to roughly four times as many on the Second and Eleventh Circuits.”

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Top Rated Comments   
I had hoped that Republicans would show some guts and challenge Reid to go ahead, go for the nuclear option. They had nothing to lose and much to gain, especially if they win the Senate in the mid-terms and begin with the nuclear option put in place by the opposition. But, no, as usual, they collapse before the Democrat steamroller and their pathological terror of the MSM. Because of the terminal weakness of congressional Republicans Obama and his lefty cronies get the nominees they want without a fight. I understand that the evil bargain struck between the left and the MSM looms as an almost insurmountable obstacle, but some strategic planning and some intestinal fortitude could work - although we'll never know because they won't even try. I wish they'd channel their inner Richard Nixons once in awhile. I'm getting tired of waiting for them to stand up and fight.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (11)
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They had no courage to carry through with it as it would have involved Chuck Schumer glaring at them in the Senate Dining Room, and who would want that?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A "Lie" from a Progressive is the New Normal!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
and I still remember when republicans won congress, and this was years back, democrats told them that they should be nice and sort of share their majority win, and republicans caved.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roughly half the country believes that Republicans are fascists and Nazis out to get them. It is a handy propaganda tool as I showed here: http://clarespark.com/2009/12/16/perceptions-of-the-enemy-the-left-looks-at-the-right-and-vice-versa/. The only winning strategy can be unity within the Republican Party, which is badly split. Is there political will to come together to oust this dictatorial administration?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As the old saying goes, a lie gets half way around the world before the truth gets out of bed. That is especially true when the MSM peddles the lie. It is also a fact that all politicians lie, it's just that the Democrats have perfected lying to a science, and a foolish public prefers to believe lies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The dems know that the truth is whatever they say it is. They also know they will never be challenged by the GOP, as it would be "too confrontational". So they go merrily along telling the lies as they see fit with no recourse or accountability. Why not? Wouldn't you if you were immoral and wanted to rule the world? Of course you would!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cruz/Palin-2016!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The mark of a modern liberal, what they claimed or did yesterday has absolutely no bearing on what they say or claim today. Contradiction and hypocrisy don't faze them.

The only "principle" Harry Reid is familiar with is lying in the moment to see what he can get. And yes he does count on the fecklessness of republicans.

That such an individual heads up the United States Senate is an abomination.

"To really speed things along, the president might try putting forward more mainstream, less controversial nominations, rather than radical ideologues."

Ha, cold day in hell there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The feckless and hapless Republicans could not get the truth into the information stream if their lives depended on it.

Of course, theirs don't. Ours do, unfortunately.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Aside from the back and forth tug of war between Demsters and RINOS's, it is patently clear that one party rule is in the offing, and the rest is just a circus for the citizens.
If this was not the case, how could the following be possible? http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/08/the-lefts-march-towards-totalitarian-rule-one-party-at-a-time-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

At the end of the 'process', surely we all realize that Obama Inc will ram them through, one way or another!

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I had hoped that Republicans would show some guts and challenge Reid to go ahead, go for the nuclear option. They had nothing to lose and much to gain, especially if they win the Senate in the mid-terms and begin with the nuclear option put in place by the opposition. But, no, as usual, they collapse before the Democrat steamroller and their pathological terror of the MSM. Because of the terminal weakness of congressional Republicans Obama and his lefty cronies get the nominees they want without a fight. I understand that the evil bargain struck between the left and the MSM looms as an almost insurmountable obstacle, but some strategic planning and some intestinal fortitude could work - although we'll never know because they won't even try. I wish they'd channel their inner Richard Nixons once in awhile. I'm getting tired of waiting for them to stand up and fight.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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