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  • Morning Bell: Harry Reid Opts for Political Theater on Judicial Nominees

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has rightfully earned the reputation of running a do-nothing Senate. More than 1,000 days have elapsed since the upper chamber approved a budget. He’s currently ignoring the House-passed JOBS Act and actively opposing steps to lower gas prices.

    Now, in a blatant political stunt, Reid is attempting to blame the Republican minority for the Senate’s failure to confirm 17 of President Obama’s district court nominees.

    >> UPDATE: Realizing his stunt wouldn’t work, Reid reversed course late Wednesday, agreeing to deal with Republicans on some of the nominees. Read the story on Scribe.

    “Republicans have refused to allow us to even vote — won’t even allow us to vote — on these qualified judicial nominees,” Reid declared. “Republicans have prevented the Senate from doing its constitutional duty and that’s what it is.”

    Reid should be commended for his hyperbole.

    Let’s begin with the fact that Reid is majority leader, the one who sets the Senate’s agenda and determines the floor schedule. So if Reid is unsatisfied with the pace of progress on Obama’s nominees, then he has only himself to blame.

    Conservatives aren’t blocking any votes because they aren’t filibustering. According to statistics compiled by the Senate Republican Policy Committee, Obama has secured approval for 129 district-court judges in three years. That’s more than President George W. Bush’s 120 confirmations over his final four years in office.

    There’s also the fact that Obama has sent fewer nominees than Bush to the Senate. In the first three years of his presidency, Bush nominated 215 district court judges; Obama made 173 nominations.

    That follows a pattern under Obama. Of the 83 judicial vacancies that currently exist, he’s made 39 nominations, leaving 44 openings unaddressed. And 17 of those nominees haven’t yet been approved by the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.

    That means an astonishing 73 percent of current judicial vacancies are awaiting action from either the White House or the Senate Judiciary Committee. What’s more, it has been reported that the American Bar Association secretly declared a significant number of the president’s nominees to be “not qualified.”

    When Reid has brought Obama’s nominees to the floor for a vote, the president has a near-perfect record, including the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) reminded Reid yesterday.

    So while Reid would like to paint Republicans as obstructionists, his criticism is misdirected.

    Conservatives should use Reid’s stunt to remind Americans about the unconstitutional appointments Obama made earlier this year. In January, while Congress was still in session, Obama ignored the Senate’s advise-and-consent role and purported to unilaterally appointed three people to seats on the National Labor Relations Board and Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    Obama’s actions prompted an initial outcry from Republicans. But with few exceptions, they’ve acquiesced. In the two months following Obama’s illegal appointments, the Senate has confirmed seven judicial nominees. That alone is a strong rebuttal to Reid’s bombastic statement that “Republicans have refused to allow us to even vote.”

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is one of the few conservatives who has vowed on principle to vote against each nominee until the Senate properly considers the four illegally appointed individuals. Lee’s approach is different from a filibuster, which requires a 60-vote threshold. He simply wants a recorded up-or-down vote on each nominee.

    “We simply cannot continue to afford nominees near-complete deference until President Obama rescinds his unconstitutional appointments and restores the Senate’s proper constitutional role in the confirmation process,” Lee explained. “I cannot sit idly by and watch as the president openly violates the Constitution and ignores a century of Senate rules.”

    Lee spoke at Heritage last month about the long-term consequences, noting that he would be equally outraged if a Republican president was pursuing the same strategy. Watch our exclusive interview.

    Reid, however, appears perfectly comfortable with Obama’s approach. He suggested that more illegal “recess” appointments could be coming. He warned, “we will have no alternative but to take action.” Reid’s actions also reveal his blatant hypocrisy. He originated the use of pro-forma sessions to avoid recess appointments under the previous administration, and that’s more proof that Reid’s actions are nothing more than partisan grandstanding.

    While Senate conservatives have not filibustered, they would be well within their prerogatives to do so. After all, as Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky noted, former Senator Robert Byrd held up more than 70 nominations and the promotions of 5,000 military personnel over recess appointments that he believed pushed the limits of the recess appointment power, even though the Senate actually was in recess. That’s in contrast to the unconstitutional and invalid act of this president of making recess appointments while the Senate was not in recess.

    Now is not the time for political theater. Reid, unfortunately, appears more willing to appease his liberal allies when he should be focusing on issues of job creation and gas prices.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    40 Responses to Morning Bell: Harry Reid Opts for Political Theater on Judicial Nominees

    1. If you don't know who Harry Ried is, don't vote in the national election. I am serious.

    2. Mary......WI says:

      Sen. Reid is a joke! He hasn't even passed a budget in three years. It's time for him to retire. He's an obstructionist. He is incapable of working together for the good of this country. Please call it quits Harry!!

      • Jack Henry says:

        Why doesn't somebody in Congress take action to defund the agencies that are headed by Obama's illegal appointees? If not that, why is legal action not taken? The Supreme Court should be prompted to hear the Constitutional question immediately.

    3. T Wood says:

      Thanks to the do nothing politicians, why do we pay them so much? And a big thank you goes to NV for reelecting Reid, had the chance to get rid of him. I think if Newt is elected, he will clean house, that's why they are trying to block him. McCain and others want someone there that will go along with their do nothing ideas!

      • Brenda says:

        I was with you until the McCain slam. It is had to get things done when the Majority Leader tables everything that comes from the House or in not a Democratic backed bill.

      • M Murphy says:

        A bigger thank you goes to ACORN and SEIU for their voter fraud and voting machines. I believe – Reid – Pelosi – Schultz – and the "rest of the crew" continue to follow Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" instead of our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. . . Photo Voter IDs, the right Secretary of States, and Governors will help locally as well as nationally. . And, then there's the Justice Department, Media Matters and Soros. . .
        There's a lot of house to clean and we have to be part of the process for 2012. . . .

    4. RG Schmidt says:

      "But with few exceptions, they've acquiesced."

      Quite true and, unfortunately, not only where judicial appointments are concerned. While I agree with those who say getting Obama out of the White House should be our number-one goal, we also must replace as many Vertebrate In Name Only members of Congress with people who have the backbone to stand up for the conservative principles that made us the great nation we once were, and put a stop to anti- and extra-Constitutional actions by the Executive Branch, no matter the party of the incumbent.

      • Maria says:

        I agree that we need to change the senate and need to get rid of Harry Reid. We need to elect more true conservatives and eliminate those who are all too willing to "acquiesce". (surrender) to Reid and the democrats. I am not supporting the national Republican party but only individual candidates that I believe are true conservatives and will fight for a return to constitutional govern,ent.

    5. Craig Miller says:

      Considering the extremist Kagan who thinks the Constitution is an impediment to the Progressive/Marxist agenda, do we really want Obama appointing ANY judges?

    6. Sam Harman says:

      Reid should be judged by his peers. Impeachment and removal. The state Nevada voted for him and should be stated as such.

      • Carol,AZ says:

        Yes, NV voted for him.
        The powerful Chamber of Commerce , hotel lobbyist bought and paid for Hotel Harry.
        He has kept the immigration crisis in NV hidden and thriving.Thousands of illegals work, back of the house, in slave like conditions.
        The gang related crime rate in one of the highest in the nation as well as the cartel connection with MX. But you know how it goes in Vegas. "What happens in Vegas stay in Vegas."
        Most of the S/W States have boycotted Vegas because of the spill over violence to neighboring states.

    7. madog2 says:

      This old decrepid senile fool needs to be put down. He got reelected even when he was constantly showing signs of stupidity and insanity. Of course he fits right in with crooks like Shumer, nobama, frank, dod, any kennedy, waters, and to be sure, Wasserman schultz

      • Art says:

        They know exactly what they are doing. They are banking on one thing only, the complete ignorance of enough of their voting base to win. Nothing else matters. Reid has made me sick ever since i watched him pontificate at the final vote on Obamacare on Christmas morning in 2009. I can remember Reid ranting that every so many minutes that goes by someone dies due to lack of medical insurance! This considering that even after it was to pass, it would be at least three more years before the law was to go into full affect. By Reid's logic, millions must have died due to lack of medical insurance since the law passed!!!

      • I agree with your statement.

    8. Donald Custer says:

      Reid is just being a total socialist idiot that he is

    9. Robert A Hirschmann says:

      Since Harry Reid is an Obama clone why is anyone surprised that he lies?How he ever got reelected I'll never know.

    10. Larry W says:

      If Americans aren't in fear of loosing our Liberty with this Administration and the Hyperbole of a do nothing Congress; we are dangerously near the Abyss!

      Heritage, please help inform America… IT IS A DO NOTHING SENATE, in total control by Reid and Democrats…Congress, even the Liberal Media knows, consists of two bodies – The House of Representatives AND The Senate. Thanks for your "Count-Up" on no budget. How about a Count -Up on bills and legislation passed by the "Doing a Lot" House and KILLED or IGNORED by the DO NOTHING SENATE!

    11. Kirk says:

      I am still waiting for someone with grit to set up and use the power of the Consitution to get this country back on path an stop these "games" that are being played at taxpayers expense. Enough already.

    12. ainieCCMAccma says:

      Good heavens. Why complain here have not been "enough" names for judicial appointments submitted by Obama. I wold like to see NONE! Most are of his ilk – and one of him is enough!

    13. Allen Krasinski says:

      Since Obama continues to commit unconstitutional and invalid acts, it seems to me that this is at least a misdemeanor against the most important law of this land, the constitution. Therefore, the Congress should begin impeachment of this President. It clearly states in the Constitution in Article II, Section 4, and I quote, "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    14. toledofan says:

      This is another great example of why the Democrats can't be trusted with managing the government, the military or the economy; there is no concession made for what is best for America, it's all about the Democrats keeping control and power. As time goes on it's clear that the longer the Democrats are in power, the worse things will get. It's too bad that at this juncture in time, the Republican Party, especially the leaders, are so weak and timid. It's too bad they don't have the will, desire or stamina to slug it out with Reid and hold him and the Democrats to account.

    15. Wes Evans says:

      It occurred to me after reading this article that the Obama WH and Sen. Reid are engaged in a political tactic that allows the President to by pass the Senate so there is no debate on his nominations or budget/spending . This allows the President to by pass the advise and consent of congress as required by law. Further more a complaint national media allows Pres. Obama to get away with this illegal behavior.

    16. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Do you really think Reid is acting on his own? Or, is Obama behind every word Reid speaks. You must understand Obama controls every conservation. Reid, Pelosi, and most of the DNC leadership is nothing but puppets with Obama, hiding behind the the screen, pulling the strings.

    17. Lin Hodges says:

      Harry Reid is following his leader Obama, in lying so much that when his lips move, you know he is lying through his teeth. I wish the Republican Leaders would show some backbone and block the Democrats like they do conservative Republicans. You know the Democrat Senators do not have the best interests of our Country when they voted down the Keystone Pipeline amendment that would have lowered fuel prices and given a boost to our Economy.

    18. David L. Ballard says:

      I am sick and tired of the information coming out of DC that Harry Reid or any other Dem. have stepped on the Constitution of the USA. The fact is we hear all of what going on and are rightly outraged but nothing gets done. About all we hear from the Republicans is a little "peep" like a little chick but nothing else. If like you say the President and Harry Reid are going against the Constitution why the hell do we not hear impeacement proceedings going forward. Another thing where is the Supreme Court on these issues? Do we not have someone on our side to bring this befor the courts. I fear that we have already lost this country to the tyrants.

    19. stephen says:

      The Foundry has turned into a GOP talking rag of reading material, after reading some of your comments, I can tell that the level of readership has been diminished for the understanding level of the ill-informed. I'm done, I'll go back to Imprimis and be happy with some real reading material.

    20. Jeanne Stotler says:

      I think what scares me more is that we do not know what is being planned behind closed doors. We have a egotistic, arrogant President, a senile Sr. Senator, a joke for VP and a House Minority leader who says we have to pass bills so we canknow what is in them?? We've had illegal appointees, Supreme court justices who are just puppets to the PUTUS, It is scary, reminds me of the beginning of Dr. Zivago.

    21. JohnLeeHooker says:

      CONgress (see the House eg) needs to do it's job – we're paying them to screw us. I thought that was illegal!

    22. R. Cook says:

      There is a simple explanation as to why the present administration has not nominated as many judges as in the past. It takes a very long time for the extreme vetting process to identify potential judges that mesh with the Socialist, Marxist ideology of the present administration.

    23. Bob Ward says:

      How many times have I preached to others and heard myself say, "Term Limit all Congress Holes– A Means of Damage Control?!""

    24. belleboy says:

      I surely do wish that we taxpayers could fire this dirtbag and find a way to revoke his pension and healthcare coverage. As far as I can see he has not done anything to earn or warrant them.

    25. P L says:

      HOUSE of representatives

      READ Article 11 Section 4


    26. Blair Franconia, NH says:


    27. gary sheldon says:

      Reid is complicet w/ the actions / nominations that ignore lawful direction concerning judicial appointments and other unlawful acts. Soilndera alone appears to be arrestable as a strong arm robbery of the people's tax dollars!!!!!!!!!

    28. Hugh says:

      In summary, the Senate Majority Leader is a clown; unconstitutional recess appointments, no budget for over 1,050 days, assaulting opposition at every opportunity and out of nowhere, passing blame. This man like many other Democrats are way more interested in power rather than doing what is right, good and constitutional for the American people. A closet Socialist, which the Democrat has evolved into.

    29. edree says:

      Hey, get of harry's case. Theater is obviously much more important than effective governance. Let him do his job……….. His job is to actually SERVE U.S. citizens??????…………….. Oh.

    30. Neal R says:

      Harry Reid represents how to kill a bill in the Senate with 1 nay vote.

    31. Joseh McKennan says:

      Business as usual in the US government. Do nothing politicians that pad their personal bank accounts with insider trading, pointing fingers at other people. They can't break protocol and reprimand the erring colleagues because they have filthy closets themselves. I mean what is a self-serving, lying, scumbag politician to do? ……. nothing, we'll get over it because we have very short memories.
      I have a good memory but they are not worried about me. If I make to much noise the press will make a monster out of me and make up a lot of lies to prove their point….. the way Dan Rather did to G W Bush.
      Ooops I made a mistake … the way Dan Rather tried to do to GW Bush. Rather became the main couse of a liberal media feeding frenzy because they cover their butts too.

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