REPUBLICANS OBSTRUCTING NOMINEES AGAIN

ABSTRACT: The Republicans are back to blocking the President’s nominees for judgeships and executive branch positions by filibustering. Currently, there are roughly 90 vacancies for judgeships. In terms of Executive Branch nominees, the Chair of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of Homeland Security are among those waiting for Senate confirmation.

Senate Democrats are again talking about changing the filibuster rule. One Senator called this obstructionism “a government shutdown by another tactic.” I encourage you to contact your Senators and let them know that this obstructionism should stop because we need our judicial and executive branches of government to function and perform the work that we have charged them to do.

FULL POST: The Republicans are back to blocking the President’s nominees for judgeships and executive branch positions by filibustering. [1] In July, Senate Republicans agreed to approve 7 Presidential nominations, but only after Senate Democrats threatened to change the Senate’s filibuster rule to stop the on-going and pervasive obstruction of nominees. (See post of 7/25/13 for more detail.) But on Thursday, the Republicans were back to filibustering nominees, blocking a judicial nominee who had 56 votes in favor and an appointee for a housing regulatory agency who had 57 votes in favor. [2]

Furthermore, Republican Senator Graham has threatened to hold up all nominations until further hearings are held on the attack on the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, a year ago. Linking approval of nominees to a totally unrelated issue is certainly unusual, if not unprecedented. Furthermore, 13 Congressional hearings and 40 staff briefings on this issue have already occurred along with the delivery to Congress of 25,000 pages of related documents. [3]

Currently, there are roughly 90 vacancies for judgeships, many of which are considered judicial emergencies. These vacancies are having a negative impact on the functioning of the federal courts and their ability to deliver justice for the American people in a timely manner. (See post of 7/21/13 for more detail.) Several nominees have been approved by the lengthy and detailed vetting of the Judiciary Committee but have not been confirmed by the full Senate.

In terms of Executive Branch nominees, the Chair of the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of Homeland Security are among those waiting for Senate confirmation. (See post of 7/16/13 for more on the blocking of executive branch nominees).

As a result of this resurgence of Republican obstructionism of nominees by filibustering, Senate Democrats are again talking about changing the filibuster rule. One Senator called this obstructionism “a government shutdown by another tactic.” [4]

I encourage you to contact your Senators and let them know that this obstructionism should stop because we need our judicial and executive branches of government to function and perform the work that we have charged them to do.


[1]       A filibuster occurs when one or more Senators refuse to end debate on a piece of legislation or other matter. It then requires a super-majority of 60 votes from the 100 Senators to close off debate (cloture) and allow a vote on the bill or other matter.

[2]       Fram, A., 11/1/13, “GOP blocks Obama picks for US court, housing agency,” The Boston Globe (from the Associated Press)

[3]       Associated Press, 11/2/13, “GOP Senator vows to block nominees,” The Boston Globe

[4]       Fram, A., 11/1/13, see above

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2 comments

  1. John,

    I think you may only have half the facts here. Why not take a look at Harry Reid and his cronies. I am tired of hearing how the Republicans are obstructing everything. You (along with many others) want the public to believe the Republicans are at fault for everything bad in this nation. If you take the time to look at the behavior, votes, and background of Harry Reid; how he does not bring before Congress many of the Republican proposals; how President Obama has given him carte blanche to do whatever it takes to bring down the Republicans, maybe then you will see a more balanced war where both the Republicans and Democrats are at fault. If you are going to say your blog gives the real story than you must stop being another machine in the war on Republicans and print the truth (or at least stop falling in tow with the lies coming from Washington DC)!

    1. Colleen, Thanks for your comment. Although I have my share of concerns about Democratic politicians, the obstructionist banner clearly goes to the Republicans if you look at the facts. You might want to go back to my blog post of 6/10/12, The Filibuster: Weapon of Obstruction (http://lippittpolicyandpolitics.org/2012/06/10/the-filibuster-weapon-of-obstruction/) for more detail. But better yet, take a look at the Washington Post article co-written by Norm Ornstein of the conservative and Republican leaning American Enterprise Institute on 4/27/12 titled “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.”

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