President Obama’s nominations of Judges James Wynn and Albert Diaz to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee six months ago, on votes of 18-1 and unanimously, respectively.
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina stood on the Senate floor recently to “beg” for a confirmation vote on the two North Carolinians, who have won support from Hagan and home-state Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, according to a NPR news report.
But Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, explained his refusal to agree to a vote on either of the nominees, pinning blame on President Obama. The chief executive moved this month to install a head of Medicare and Medicaid through a recess appointment, without a hearing in the Senate or confirmation vote, McConnell noted.
“Given the president has been so dismissive of the Senate’s right to provide advice and consent under the Constitution, I’m not inclined at this point to consent to the agreement proposed by my friend from North Carolina,” McConnell said.
The report provided an update on partisan fighting over judicial nominations, noting that the Senate has voted to confirm 37 of Obama’s judicial picks, slightly more than half as many as during the corresponding period under President Bush. But Obama has not nominated as many judges–having announced 84 in this period, compared to Bush’s 107.
In a separate instance, reported by The Blog of Legal Times, McConnell objected this week to setting a confirmation vote on the nomination to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of Jane Stranch of Nashville. She has been awaiting a vote by the full Senate since November.
To learn more about the impact of partisan battling over judicial nominations, check out Justice at Stake’s issues page on the topic. You can read more about the nominations of Judges Wynn and Diaz in Gavel Grab.