Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is planning on introducing bicameral legislation after the holiday break to thwart Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) attempt to stock the D.C. Circuit with President Obama’s picks.
Before senators left for the Thanksgiving break last week, Reid invoked the “nuclear option” to allow nominees to pass cloture with a simple majority vote.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduce the Court Efficiency Act in April, and King will now introduced it in the House and and push for its immediate consideration in the House Judiciary Committee and on the floor. The bill would simply eliminate the three vacancies on the court that Reid is attempting to fill by killing the filibuster, and add one judgeship each to the Second Circuit Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court.
“The D.C. Circuit ranks last in both the number of appeals filed and appeals terminated. The caseload is so low, in fact, that current judges on the D.C. Circuit have told me that if these seats were filled, there wouldn’t be enough work to go around,” Grassley argued. “It only makes sense to move these seats where they are needed most and can be an efficient use of taxpayer resources.”
“But rather than adopt a reasonable good-government approach, the Senate majority has demonstrated once again that it is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve its political ends, in this case stacking the deck with judges it believes will rubberstamp key elements of the president’s agenda, including health care reform and cap and trade.”
King said noted that the court enjoys not just a small workload, but the “unique responsibility of reviewing matters pertaining to federal agencies.”
“It is not at all surprising that given this court’s responsibility, the president would want to shore up support for his agenda there. Additionally, the fervor to fill these judgeships, which led to an unprecedented change in Senate procedure, obviously stems from a similar motivation amongst Senate Democrats,” King said.
“Given the enormous costs to taxpayers each judgeship entails, and the dubious political motivations behind packing the D.C. Circuit, I think it is imperative that the House act immediately to protect the integrity of the Court, taxpayers, and future litigants.”