Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed seventeen petitions to break Senate Republican filibusters on as many judges earlier this week. Initially, McConnell reacted to these petitions with an increasingly implausible list of reasons why the Senate could not vote on these nominees right away, before finally admitting that he was opposing the nominees because Reid made Senate Republicans “look bad” by pointing out their obstructionism.
As it turns out, this was not an effective messaging strategy for Mr. McConnell, who has now agreed to allow most of the seventeen judges to move forward:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the agreement on the floor but said they wouldn’t provide any details until they briefed their respective caucuses later in the afternoon. However, aides said the deal will allow Democrats to move 12 district court judges and 2 circuit court judges by May 7.
Now, let’s be clear, this is not a perfect deal. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why every judge who has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee could not be confirmed today — and there is certainly no reason why judges who received little if any opposition in committee need to wait as long as May 7. It’s also inexcusable that one of President Obama’s most outstanding nominees, Ninth Circuit nominee Paul Watford, is not on the list of judges being confirmed (a list of the judges is below the jump).
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