Republicans are threatening a mass blockade of President Barack Obama's three most important judicial nominees ahead of an expected Thursday vote on the first of them.
Backed by House colleagues and GOP attorneys general from around the country, Senate Republican leaders are whipping opposition to advancing the nomination of Patricia Millett -- or anyone else -- for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one notch below the Supreme Court and often has the final word on matters of executive authority.
"This week, Sen. Reid has teed up President Obama's court-packing plan for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a court that some people call the second most important court in the nation," Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters. "The last thing we need to do when money is tight ... is throw more money at unneeded judges on this court, in an attempt to simply pack the court in order to tilt that court ideologically in a way that favors the big government agenda of the Obama administration."
"We intend to stop it," he said.
Cornyn's court-packing claim is misleading -- it is a reference to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's attempts to expand the size of the Supreme Court; Obama merely wants to fill vacancies on the appellate level. But he repeated the talking point in multiple op-edsrecently, laying the groundwork for a mass filibuster and pressuring GOP senators not to allow Obama to fill any of the three vacant seats on the D.C. Circuit court.
"I can't think of anything more ridiculous," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Wednesday. "Making nominations to vacant judgeships is not court-packing. It's the president's job." Talking up Millett's qualifications as a Supreme Court litigator and her integrity, he said, "It is truly a shame that Republicans would filibuster this exceedingly qualified nominee for unrelated political reasons."
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