Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
For five years, Senate Republicans led by the Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have systematically abused the Senate filibuster rules in partisan warfare to block President Obama's judicial nominees. There are currently four vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as a result of this unprecedented partisan obstruction by the GOP.
Today there is one less vacancy. The Septegenarian Ninja Turtle finally had to cave on his filibuster strategy and —surprise! — President Obama's nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was approved unanimously 97-0, after pending for almost a year.
Steve Benen writes, Senate unanimously approves Srinivasan:
Of all the recent judicial confirmation votes, today's was the most important.
After five years of trying, President Barack Obama has placed his first nominee on a key appeals court in Washington.
The Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to confirm Sri Srinivasan to
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The
court is considered the most important in the country after the Supreme
Court. The Senate voted 97-0 in favor of his nomination.
Srinivasan is currently the principal deputy in the Office of the
Solicitor General. He has worked in both Democratic and Republican
administrations and served as a law clerk to former U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Srinivasan's name also came to public prominence in
March: he's the attorney who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that
the Defense of Marriage Act should be struck down.
So why is his
confirmation so important? For one thing, the D.C. Circuit is generally
considered the second highest federal bench in the nation, behind only
the U.S. Supreme Court, in part because it hears so many regulatory
cases related to the federal government.
* * *
Also note the circumstances that led to today's vote.
[T]his week, Reid used the Senate rules to provoke a confrontation:
Technically he filed cloture on Srinivasan's nomination, guaranteeing
him at least a test vote this week. More meaningfully, he forced
McConnell to choose between sustaining a filibuster against Srinivasan
through early June (a move that would have helped Reid build his case
for changing the rules this summer) and agreeing to a confirmation vote
now (effectively caving).
McConnell caved Thursday morning on the Senate floor. A small cave. But a cave nonetheless.
So, does all of this mean people like me should complain
less about judicial vacancies and Republicans blocking the president's
nominees? Well, no, at least not yet. Srinivasan's confirmation was a
welcome development, but let's not forget that his seat on the D.C.
Circuit has sat empty for nearly five years.
Srinivasan enjoyed unanimous support, but it nevertheless took nearly a
full year to confirm him (Obama nominated him last June).
what's next, three of the 11 seats on the D.C. Circuit are still vacant.
The White House insists nominations for each of these vacancies is on the way.
Note: Judge Srinivasan is already being talked about as a possible Supreme Court justice in the future.