Tell the Senate to Stop Blocking Judicial Confirmations

Before Congressional Republicans opposed health care reform and financial services reform they were hard at work making sure that the federal court system ground to a near complete halt.  By using filibusters, anonymous holds and other obstructionist tactics less than 43 percent of President Obama’s judicial nominees have been confirmed.  President George W. Bush had twice his nominees confirmed while both Presidents Reagan and Carter enjoyed confirmation rates of about ninety percent.

We’re not talking Supreme Court nominees here.  We are talking low-ranking judges who get voted out of the judicial committee unanimously only to sit and never receive full Senate vote for no substantive reason whatsoever. 

The effect on our justice system is nothing short of crippling.  District court judges serve on the front line of our federal courts.  They are the ones who hear cases ranging from everything to federal criminal charges to immigration challenges.  District judges rarely hand down controversial opinions (those are more likely to occur at the appellate level), and instead deal with court management and sentencing.

Add this chokehold to the systematic narrowing of access to the federal courts under the Rhenquist and Roberts Courts and the American public is faced with a smaller and more laborious venue to hear claims against the federal government.  Don’t like the new health care reform bill?  Well, that’s a case that will have to be brought in a federal court.  Got arrested for selling cocaine in multiple states?  Lucky for you the federal courts are so backlogged that you can sit in a local jail while you wait for your sentence to the pen.

If a Senator has a substantial concern about a nominee’s record or belief system that Senator should have an opportunity to have that concern addressed by the candidate.  But refusing to give a candidate a vote at all (like, for example, Sen. Orrin Hatch did with then-judicial candidate Elena Kagan under the Clinton administration) is childish and does nothing to further the good of the American public.  It eventually puts public safety at risk and does very little to score political points as most Americans pay very little attention to the goings on at the district court level of the judiciary branch.  The only people who suffer are, predictably, Americans who need access to justice.  This has got to end.  Contact your Senators and tell them to give our judicial candidates the vote they are entitled to.  The good candidates will pass and the bad ones will fail.  Let’s get justice moving again.

photo courtesy of steakpinball via Flickr


Melissah Chadwick
Melissah C8 years ago


Chris L.
Chris L8 years ago

When the "righties" were in you did say no. How short your memories are. In fact the mighty Obama was part of the party of "NO" regarding Bush nominees. You can't pardon one sin without admiting the sins of the other.

Go back and look at the nomination hearings during the Bush years. Listen to the horrible things said by prominent Dems during those hearings about the canidates. Like them or not, they deserved basic courtesy which they were often not shown by Dems. I don't think either of Obama's nominees can claim the treatment the Dems have handed out over the years. Has one of Obama's Supreme court nominees been blocked?

Alan K.
alan k8 years ago

Why isn't this a petition. The GOP will wait until the end of 2012
to act, trying to make Obama look bad. Those waiting for a
judge should send GOP members appreciation cards for
such callous action and then reward then by not supporting
in Nov. election

Kaye Skinner
Kaye S8 years ago

Go Republicans!!!

Ann Eastman
Ann Eastman8 years ago

One of the main points of the article was that it DOESN'T happen all of the time but reflects the current deliberate obstructionism and petulance of the Party of No.

donald b.

Republicans SHOULD BE ASHAMED of themselves!!

Marlyn Vega
Marlyn Vega8 years ago

yes, but it happens all the time..whether you are Dem or Rep..its called politics and democracy without its not America

Tierney G.
Tierney G8 years ago

OK two can play at this game. When the righties time comes up just say NO!!!

Thanks righties for screwing with our lives you do know that not everyone agrees with or listens to your lies don't you???

Linda G.
Linda G8 years ago

We'll just have to all vote the Party of No out of office. Please vote in your local and state elections and let's see if we can't reform some of these stalling and obstructing tactics.
I have called McCain about stalling the nomination of James Clapper for Direction of National Intelligence. He and others like him should be ashamed!

Rita Walpole A.
Rita Walpole A8 years ago

Hello Jessica: Know it's not an easy thing to do, but please let it rip and the hatchet fall a whole lot harder. Loss of the rule of law is essential for our billionaire rulers to maintain their control here in the U.S. of (greed and power) A.(ddiction).

Recall what "W" did re. stacking the court? How can we ever forget that fully scripted, low I.Q. puppet whore who pretended to by Pres. for eight years? And years before that, we lost the real McCoy rule of law when another president, with higher I.Q. but also scripted, pushed through appointments to the 'supremes' that, to this day, have protected the coporations and our billionaire rulers. And also gave us "W", a.k.a. the worst president ever, in 2000.

So... no big suprise that the big stall is on re. Obama's appointments to the bench, and sooooo much more. As my Irish cousins tell me, over and over: "You Yanks have had a coup de etat, and you're too politically naive to recognize it." And they see things a lot more clearly than we do, per usual. Yes, Jessica, we need to restore, restore, and so much more, and go to work to do all it takes to restore the rule of law, the vote, peace vs. our constant warmode, a truly free press, education vs. "Every Child Left Behind", healthcare for all, etc., etc., etc., and go to work to do all it will take to .... UNDO THE COUP!