Friday, May 17, 2013

Time for Some Nominations. A Lot of Nominations


Today's news, outside of the continuing scandal stuff, is Greg Sargent's big scoop that Harry Reid is tentatively planning for July to be nominations month -- complete with the threat of majority-imposed reform. I already wrote about it as a chess move over at PP today (I think Reid did well), and I probably should write something at some point about what the substance of the threat in terms of Senate rules and procedures. But there's one more point that's important to get to:

If Harry Reid is willing to spend serious floor time on nominations, he needs more nominees. Lots more nominees.

In particular, he really needs those three DC Circuit Court selections that the president still -- still! -- hasn't sent up. Okay, there's some excuse on one spot because he had a nominee who was defeated by filibuster. But still, that cloture vote was ten weeks ago, and she withdrew her name almost two months ago (and it's not as if the cloture vote defeat was a big surprise, either).

But that's not all! Reid needs Obama to supply a full complement of executive branch nominees. Yes, as Greg points out, the high-visibility slots are the head of EPA, Secretary of Labor, and the nullification case of CFPB. There's also a Commerce Secretary nominee to confirm, and a full set of NLRB nominees. There should be, however, far more. With Reid signaling a window of available floor time, it sure would be nice to have as full a slate as possible of subcabinet executive branch nominations for the Senate to confirm.

And, yes, as many of the other 50-plus judicial nominees as possible.

To get all of those picks through committee and ready for the Senate floor in July, they really need to be selected very soon. C'mon, Mr. President: it's time for a fully functioning administration, and that takes executive branch nominees.

UPDATE: I should note that in the last couple of weeks the White House really has been starting to roll out more judicial picks -- one circuit court selection and three district court selections yesterday, on top of a few last week. That's good! But there's a lot more to go. And plenty of executive branch vacancies as well.


  1. The one area were I think the filibuster is defensible is for Article III Judges. Lifetime appointments are horrendous public policy and until we do away with them requiring a super majority of Senators to approve is acceptable.

  2. Why is it only a "window"? The way I read Greg's reporting, July is when the 60-vote requirement for nominees could be ended for good, not just for the month of July.

    And if that is true, doesn't it make sense for Obama to hold off a bit on nominations so he knows whether he is nominating for a 50-vote or 60-vote process?

    1. Window in the sense of devoting floor time to it.

      I suppose I can imagine a case where Obama is choosing between someone he would prefer who he thinks would fall short of 60 and a second choice who would get it, but I suspect that such cases are actually fairly rare.

    2. Really? I think it could make a significant difference in terms of picking appellate judges. I also think it could apply to cases like Susan Rice's.

    3. As I am thinking about it--I also think recruitment could be very different. For example, I suspect there are a lot of people who would not mind being federal judges in the abstract, but who are not willing to go through the current 60-vote process (including the uncertainty of how it will play out).


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