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GOP responds to Holder's judicial confirmation op-ed

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 9:19 a.m. ET
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. writes in today's Washington Post that "The confirmation process is so twisted in knots that we are losing ground," as he implores the Senate to confirm federal judges before breaking for the November elections:

Today, 23 judicial nominees -- honest and qualified men and women eager to serve the cause of justice -- are enduring long delays while awaiting up-or-down votes, even though 16 of them received unanimous bipartisan approval in the Judiciary Committee. The confirmation process is so twisted in knots that we are losing ground -- there are more vacancies today than when President Obama took office. The men and women whose confirmations have been delayed have received high marks from the nonpartisan American Bar Association, have the support of their home-state senators (including Republicans), and have received little or no opposition in committee. These outstanding lawyers and jurists deserve better, as do litigants who bring cases to increasingly understaffed courts.

...

Last year, 259,000 civil cases and 75,000 criminal cases were filed in the federal courts, enough to tax the abilities of the judiciary even when it is fully staffed. But today there are 103 judicial vacancies -- nearly one in eight seats on the bench. Men and women who need their day in court must stand in longer and longer lines.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) e-mailed to dispute some of Holder's comments.

"Nice of him to point out that only 23 nominees are pending before the Senate--despite noting that there are 103 vacancies," Stewart said. "In other words, he unwittingly pointed out to the Fourth Estate that 80 percent of the nominees aren't being blocked by Republicans. Also, half of the nominees on the Senate calendar have only been pending for less than two legislative weeks."

Yes, a good point. Obama has nominated fewer federal trial and appeals court judges than George W. Bush had at this point in his presidency.

And judicial confirmations aren't the only items on the Congressional to-do list -- dozens of Executive Branch still await an up or down vote in addition to plenty of other issues.

Read the full op-ed and leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 28, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Confirmation Hearings, From The Pages of The Post  
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Comments

Last I checked the Dems still have a majority and I'm quite sure that they could peel off a RINO or two to make the 60 votes. But if you develop concensus candidates rather than hard left idealogues they'd probably sail through. Or say if you concentrated on that rather than a POS bill like Obamacare.

Posted by: ronjaboy | September 28, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Last I checked the Dems still have a majority and I'm quite sure that they could peel off a RINO or two to make the 60 votes. But if you develop concensus candidates rather than hard left idealogues they'd probably sail through. Or say if you concentrated on that rather than a POS bill like Obamacare.

Posted by: ronjaboy | September 28, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

when is obama going to wake up and fire this guy.

Posted by: SISSD1 | September 28, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The numbers speak for themselves: The President hasn't even nominated anyone for 80 of the 103 vacancies. Eric Holder should remember what Pogo said many decades ago: "We have met the enemy and they are us."

Posted by: MrBethesda | September 28, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

There should be a time element involved in these nominations - say two months for the Administration to nominate, and another two for them to be cleared by the committee, with an up or down vote on the floor. Non-controversial appointments could be "bundled," in the same way bills are, so that they can be cleared quickly, and Congress can get on to other matters. The way the process (doesn't) work right now, people don't get justice, mostly because one party or the other wants to use the process for either partisan gain, to leverage other legislation, or simply to keep other legislation from coming to the floor - none of which fulfills their constitutional responsibility, or does the country any good. The rest of the discussion is beside the point. It doesn't matter how many people the President nominates - he's wasting his time nominating even one, if he can't get them confirmed. And, as the article notes, these aren't "far left" candidates, but ones on whom everyone agrees. The problem is the process, and the use of it for purely partisan reasons.

Posted by: garoth | September 28, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

There should be a time element involved in these nominations - say two months for the Administration to nominate, and another two for them to be cleared by the committee, with an up or down vote on the floor. Non-controversial appointments could be "bundled," in the same way bills are, so that they can be cleared quickly, and Congress can get on to other matters. The way the process (doesn't) work right now, people don't get justice, mostly because one party or the other wants to use the process for either partisan gain, to leverage other legislation, or simply to keep other legislation from coming to the floor - none of which fulfills their constitutional responsibility, or does the country any good. The rest of the discussion is beside the point. It doesn't matter how many people the President nominates - he's wasting his time nominating even one, if he can't get them confirmed. And, as the article notes, these aren't "far left" candidates, but ones on whom everyone agrees. The problem is the process, and the use of it for purely partisan reasons.

Posted by: garoth | September 28, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

When will the Democrats learn that only right wing members of the Federalist Society, appointed by Republican Presidents, annointed by Clarence Thomas' wife are entitled to an up or down vote?

Posted by: pblotto | September 28, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

It might be that the Democrats biggest problem in the Senate is the incompetence of their Majority Leader.

Posted by: ad9inaz | September 28, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@ ad9inaz...

It MIGHT be that some people don't understand the problem. When you have a small majority in the Senate (guess who Einstein), who are purchased by the right dingbats of corporate mafia, who say no to anything to destroy a democrat agenda, who apply a filibuster to EVERY single session, CAN NOT get nothing done because of them... but oh! you want re-elect these cronies and put them back as majority. Some of you people need your head examined!

Just watch C-SPAN and observe the house and senate sessions. Boring? Constantly voting, but nothing getting done? Why? Because every session is BLOCKED by the dingbat republicans using filibuster, so they have to get 2/3 VOTES to over ride and that can't happen when the democrats do not have 2/3. Turn off the Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh spew channels and get informed for yourself instead of coming on news blog spewwing the right-dingbat squirrel propoganda!

But let's watch what happens IF the republicans take control of the house OR the senate! Remember, what comes around GOES around!

Posted by: darbyohara | September 29, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

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