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  • Senate Opposition May Block Judicial Nominees Close to Presidential Election

    On July 30, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Robert E. Bacharach to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. But under a more than 30-year-old Senate procedure known as the Thurmond/Leahy Rule, during a presidential election year, the opposition party may block the confirmation of judicial nominees in the months leading up to the election.

    This procedure preserves existing vacancies for the incoming President to fill and prevents an outgoing President from loading up the courts with cronies and ideologues. Thus, Senate Republicans can and should be prepared to filibuster at least the circuit court nominees to stop their confirmation before the election this November.

    Liberals been howling that the Senate Republicans’ invocation of the Thurmond/Leahy Rule violates the spirit of the Constitution, is the antithesis of good governance, and is a disservice to the nominees and to an overburdened federal judiciary. Putting aside the fact that the Senate has confirmed more nominees for the current Administration than it did in a re-election year for the last Administration, Senator Patrick Leahy (D–VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, claims that it is too early to apply the Thurmond/Leady Rule and that this is another stalling tactic by Senate Republicans to block President Obama’s nominees.

    Curiously enough, Leahy is one of the biggest champions of this rule. In fact, a 2008 Congressional Research Service report documented that he is the Senator who has most frequently asserted the rule. For example, in December 2006, Leahy said that “after the spring, no judges would go through except by the consent of both [parties],” and in June 2008, he said, “We are now way past the time of a Thurmond rule…and I’m trying to respect that.”

    If the Thurmond/Leahy Rule is not completely abandoned, it should be in effect now—just over three months shy of the presidential election. In mid-June, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) confirmed that the rule is in effect:

    We’ve reached about that point.… And this has been the case for 30 years that when we [sic] we’re at this stage in the presidential election year, both sides have kind of agreed no matter which side is in the majority that you have a pause in circuit judges.… But the person who wins the election…gets to make the appointment.

    Now that Senate Republicans have laid down their marker, they should not, in the words of the Bard, hold their manhood cheap. They should be prepared to filibuster at least the future circuit court nominees, especially in light of President Obama’s continual derogation of the Senate’s prerogatives.

    Senate Republicans should not be bullied by the current imperial presidency, which has been marked by unprecedented power grabs, including unconstitutional purported “recess” appointments, implementation of the DREAM Act by executive fiat, and, most recently, its illegal plan to gut the work requirement for welfare.

    There are so-called “reforms” to the Senate rules that majority leader Harry Reid (D–NV) will push forward and attempt to force a vote on. But Senate Republicans should not engage in unilateral disarmament. After all, that is what the current majority did when they were in the minority.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Senate Opposition May Block Judicial Nominees Close to Presidential Election

    1. Chuck Serio says:

      Democrats like Patrick Leahy are disgustingly hypocritical.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Please protect this country at every call!

      Having a man protect his abuse on America by misconceiving the peoples constitution at his convenience over the rightful understanding the American peoples constitution is protection from him (feds) is underhandedly despicable and extreme! How dare the constitution be reduced to this man's intentional manipulation of falsification.

    3. CforUS says:

      "You guys don't play fair." "I'm taking my ball and going home."

    4. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      It's too bad this has to happen.

    5. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      This is the kind of thing that makes people say "Washington is broken", and I couldn't disagree more with that statement. The Constitution explicitly allows each house to make it own rules, so if this rule is slowing things down too much, then change it.

      "Washington is broken" is another way of saying "We can't increase the size and scope of the state as fast as we would like because of this pesky Constitution that we all swore an oath to uphold".

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