Republicans blocking Obama’s nomination to the federal appellate court based in D.C. aren’t bothering to pretend that the nominees are unqualified. In fact, they concede that the nominees are well-qualified.
But they will not allow the nominations to come to a vote in the Senate for two reasons: They disagree with what they assume (probably with good reason) to be the ideology of the nominees; and they feel the Democrats started this spat in previous rounds by stalling George W. Bush nominees.
(There’s a third argument that is too ridiculous to recite — but which is nonetheless recited regularly — that there is no reason to fill any of the three vacancies on the court because there are plenty of judges still working there.)
The nominee who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday was Patricia Millett. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has known her for years, was admirably candid about what was happening to her nomination. As reported in a piece by the Blog of LegalTimes (which goes by the adorable, if not quite kosher acronym The BLT:)
Millett spent much of the time listening to Republicans explain the political rationale behind why they will fight against her confirmation in addition to two other pending D.C. Circuit nominees. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spent about five minutes today laying out exactly where Millett stands, “irrespective of your very fine professional qualifications.”
“You find yourself in the midst of a broader battle. And a battle on issues many of which are unconnected to your professional background qualifications, but issues sadly that have consumed the D.C. Circuit for decades,” said Cruz, who said he has known Millett for a long time.
If Republicans continue to filibuster on these grounds, it seems only reasonable that Democrats will soon announce that any future Republican president who happens to get elected needn’t bother nominating anyone to any federal judgeships at all because to confirm any such nominees would only be to reward the Republicans for refusing to confirm Obama’s nominees.