Why Another Obama Judicial Nominee Was Just Filibustered

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 6 2013 11:31 AM

Three Quotes That Explain Why Another Obama Judicial Nominee Was Just Filibustered

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) looks out at the television cameras before talking to the news media after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol March 5, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"What is unprecedented is the fact that the Senate, for the first time in 200 years, last Congress chose to filibuster judges for the purpose of defeating them. That had never been done before in the history of the Senate... What Senate Republicans are contemplating doing and what I think they should do is to get us back to the precedents that were established prior to the last Congress, in which judicial appointments were given an up-or-down -- that is, a majority -- vote."

- Mitch McConnell, March 27, 2005, on the argument for ruling a judicial filibuster out of order. An eventual compromise would allow three Bush judicial nominees to get up-or-down votes, without changing filibuster rules..
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It will make it easier to confirm nominees in general. On judges now there will be two hours post cloture, and on other nominees it will be eight hours.

- Carl Levin, January 24, 2013, on the Democrats' decision not to push ahead with filibuster reform that would have allowed more up-or-down votes.

"Senate Republicans have blocked the confirmation of federal appeals court nominee Caitlin Halligan for the second time, denying President Barack Obama a key judicial appointment. Republicans say Halligan is too liberal to sit on U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and cited [sic] her work on lawsuits against gun manufacturers... A majority of senators, 51, supported her nomination, but Democrats needed 60 votes in the 100 member Senate to get it past Republican objections."

- The Associated Press, March 6, 2013

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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