Thursday, November 14, 2013

Court Vacancies Prove Orrin Hatch Is Full of Shit

MSNBC notes that President Barack Obama has had more judicial nominees blocked than President Bill Clinton or President George W. Bush. Adam Serwer correctly points out Republicans are intentionally not filling the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

That’s because Republicans have decided that no more Obama administration nominees should be placed on the DC Circuit. Three of the eleven seats on the court are vacant, and placing Democratic nominees on the bench would end conservative dominance of the DC Circuit which handles key regulatory and national security cases. Republicans’ specific ideological objections to the nominees don’t matter as much as their conviction that any Democratic appointees would skew the court to the left, which they want to prevent. Obama has had fewer federal judges confirmed than either of his predecessors. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley wants to eliminate three seats on the court so as to keep Obama from appointing judges to fill them.

Republican during the Bush years, senators like Orrin Hatch cried for an "up and down vote"?

"...I think we should bind both Democrats and Republicans that presidential nominees for the judiciary deserve an up-and-down vote once they reach the floor..." (Orrin Hatch discusses debate in Senate..., NPR, 5/19/05)

Hatch sang a different tune in the op-ed pages of USA Today. Hatch wrote that the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit didn't have much of a case load. Hatch falsely claimed that Democrats were making a scandal out of nothing. What Hatch fails to mention is that there are 3 seats that need to be filled.

Democrats also want to use a manufactured confirmation confrontation as an excuse to eliminate judicial filibusters. Never mind that Democrats blocked four times as many confirmation votes by filibusters under President Bush than have occurred under President Obama. Never mind that Senate Democratic leaders voted more than two dozen times for judicial filibusters, including against a D.C. Circuit nominee. Even then-Sen. Obama voted for several judicial filibusters, including a Supreme Court nominee.

So much for Sen. Orrin Hatch being for an up and down vote.

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