FTSN: Latest GOP Filibuster of Qualified Judicial Nominee a Reminder of Why We Need Rules Reform

“Elections have consequences, qualified nominees deserve votes, and Senate Republican intransigence cannot be rewarded any longer”


Washington, DC – Today in the U.S. Senate, Republicans filibustered the nomination of Nina Pillard to fill one of three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals to the D.C. Circuit.

This is the second time in the past two weeks that Senate Republicans have filibustered the nomination of a qualified nominee to the DC Circuit and the third highly qualified woman in a row to be filibustered by Senate Republicans for a vacant DC Circuit slot. Already, Senate Republicans are pledging to filibuster another nominee to the DC Circuit, Robert Wilkins.

The following is a statement from Fix the Senate Now:

“The Republican strategy of judicial obstruction en masse is unprecedented in American history.

“While past battles over judicial nominees have centered on the relative merits and qualifications of the nominee, the back-to-back filibusters of Patricia Millett and Nina Pillard are simply about obstruction for obstruction’s sake. As ThinkProgress recently assessedhttp://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/07/24/2347071/conservatives-gear-up-for-war-to-keep-top-womens-rights-attorney-off-the-bench/, ‘few lawyers have done more to advance the cause of women’s equality than Nina Pillard — and few lawyers have been as successful in their efforts to do so.’ Meanwhile, even Senator Ted Cruz noted approvingly of Patricia Millett’s ‘very fine professional qualifications.’

“Instead of questions about the nominees’ merits, Senate Republicans’ obstruction is a transparent attempt to deny President Obama his constitutional authority to fill three outstanding judicial vacancies. The supposed rationale behind the obstruction – court-packing and insufficient caseloads – do not pass the laugh test. The fact is, Senate Republicans are intent to block every nominee that would alter the current ideological balance of the D.C. Circuit.  The norms and traditions of the U.S. Senate hold that qualified nominees deserve more than this blanket obstruction. 

“If Senate Republicans continue to block an up-or-down vote for these qualified nominees, the Senate Democratic caucus must embrace rules reform. As we noted upon the occasion of the Millett filibuster, functional government and an operational U.S. Senate cannot be an occasional principle. Elections have consequences, qualified nominees deserve votes, and Senate Republican intransigence cannot be rewarded any longer. “

For more information or to interview leaders from the Fix the Senate Now coalition, contact Michael Earls at media@fixthesenatenow.org