Obstruction

Courts Without Judges, Per the GOP Plan

The NY Times explains how Republican obstructionism is the main cause of the judicial vacancy crisis, which is undermining our system of justice.
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Using the Courts to Derail Reform

Powerful financial entities are turning to conservative judges to undermine the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
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Obama Talks to Senators About Broken Judicial Confirmation Process

Republicans ended their year-long blockade of an unopposed circuit court nominee after unjustly torpedoing another with a filibuster.
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Obama Condemns Filibuster of His DC Circuit Court Nominee

President Obama specifically cites the obstruction of the three remaining Republican members of the "Gang of 14."
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Five Reasons the Senate Should Confirm Caitlin Halligan

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he will ask the Senate to vote this week on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan, President Obama’s nominee to fill one of four vacancies on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Orrin Hatch Votes Present: Obstruction By Another Name

Orrin Hatch is exhibit A in the abuse of Senate rules to block President Obama’s nominees.
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White House Speaks Out for Judicial Nominees

After committee approval of several judicial nominees, including for the DC Circuit, the Obama Administration urges Senate action on judges.
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Obama Highlights Judges in Response to Filibuster Deal

The president again signals the priority he places on judicial nominations during his second term.
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Recess Appointments Ruling Shows Consequences of GOP Obstructionism

There would be no litigation on recess appointments but for Republicans' refusal to allow the Senate to vote on President Obama's nominees.
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Sen. Leahy Talks About Judges at Georgetown Law

The Judiciary Committee chairman condemns obstruction of qualified judicial nominees.
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Swift Renominations Show Obama's Commitment to Judicial Nominations

As soon as the 103rd Congress began, Obama renominated every judicial nominee left unconfirmed and called for their timely confirmation.
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Senators Speak Out for Judicial Confirmations

Sens. Whitehouse, Cardin, and (Tom) Udall discuss how Republican obstruction of judicial nominations is damaging the nation's system of justice.
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How the NRA is Working with Senate Republicans to Block Judicial Nominees

The New York Times’ Linda Greenhouse has a great blog post up on the National Rifle Association’s little-known role in influencing Senate votes on federal judicial nominees. Greenhouse focuses on the NRA’s effort to scare Republican Senators away from voting for the Supreme Court nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – neither of whom had any actual Second Amendment record – and its successful effort to frustrate the DC Circuit nomination of Caitlin Halligan, who had once represented the state of New York in a gun control case.

These are the most prominent examples of the NRA’s efforts to keep qualified judicial nominees off the federal bench without reason. But there are plenty more examples out there. One of the most appalling is that of Elissa Cadish, who President Obama nominated to fill a district court seat in Nevada back in February. The NRA immediately got to work to stop Cadish’s nomination. Why? One month before the Supreme Court’s Heller decision – in which it overturned decades of case law to state that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to own firearms – Cadish correctly answered a questionnaire about the current state of Second Amendment law. At the time, Cadish correctly stated that the law that she would follow as a district court judge did not include the individual right to bear firearms. After Heller, she clarified that she would of course follow current law, which now did include this right.

This was a sign of proper judicial restraint – district court judges are in the business of applying the law as interpreted by higher courts – but to the NRA it was an excuse to bring down a judicial nominee. The gun group strong-armed Nevada Sen. Dean Heller into opposing the nomination and that was that. Heller refused to give his permission for the Senate Judiciary Committee to even hold a hearing on Cadish (permission is traditionally required from both home-state senators), and her nomination foundered.

The NRA didn’t get involved with these judicial nominations because it had substantive reasons to oppose the nominees. It got involved because it is, in effect, a codependent wing of the Republican party. Greenhouse points out that it was Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who reached out to the NRA about opposing Sotomayor, rather than the other way around. Senate Republicans want to stop President Obama from filling seats on the federal courts. They then used the NRA as a useful bludgeon to keep in line senators who might consider being reasonable. The NRA and the Republican leadership get what they want from this relationship. The rest of us get a gridlocked Senate, a vacancy crisis in the federal courts and nation awash in firearms.

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Pending Judicial Nominations Pile Up

Republicans resist lame duck confirmations that have been made necessary by their own obstruction.
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