Qualified Nominee Blocked from Confirmation in Senate

A Republican filibuster means the nomination of a judge who has received praise for her qualifications from both sides of the aisle will not come up for a vote.

Patricia Millett, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Washington, D.C., Circuit failed to clear a procedural hurdle after Republicans voted against bringing her nomination to a vote.

According to The Atlantic, “The Republicans in the Senate just filibustered the nomination of a highly-talented lawyer and hard-working woman of faith who is married to a member of our armed forces. In doing so, by defeating today’s cloture vote, they prevented this nominee from re-joining the federal government even though Millett received enough votes to pass a straight-majority vote for her post.”

A Washington Post blog post said Republicans opposed Millett’s nomination because they feared it would tip the balance of power on the D.C. Circuit court, which is generally thought to be the second most important court in the country, behind the Supreme Court. The GOP also argued that the circuit court’s small caseload didn’t require a swift confirmation.

A Republican-sponsored bill would also eliminate three seats on the D.C. Circuit Court, reducing the total number of authorized judgeships from 11 to eight. Tuesday, Justice at Stake sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee stating its opposition to the bill.

White House press secretary Jay Carney accused the GOP of obstruction. He called Millett “extraordinarily qualified” and said the arguments some Republican senators have made about the court’s small caseload are “astoundingly hypocritical.”

“At this point, we would simply like to see our nominees confirmed – our highly qualified nominees confirmed,” Carney told The Washington Post.

It is not known whether the Senate will reconsider Millet’s nomination. The fight over judicial nominations was a hot topic back in August. At that time, Justice at Stake, along with 96 other organizations, signed a letter urging U.S. senators to hold up-or-down votes on three nominees for judgeships on the D.C. Circuit court. (see Gavel Grab)

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