Senate fight on DC Circuit nominees continues

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he would try to advance yet another of President Obama’s D.C. Circuit Court nominees.

Republicans have already blocked two of Obama’s other nominees to the D.C. Court of Appeals, which has three vacancies.

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Reid said he would file a motion to end debate on the nomination of Nina Pillard Thursday, setting up a cloture vote for Tuesday evening.

“I hope my Republican colleagues will not block another qualified nominee when we vote on cloture on Tuesday,” Reid said Thursday. “The least this nominee deserves is a fair confirmation process and a simple up-or-down vote.”

Reid will need 60 votes to overcome a GOP filibuster. He has failed to get those votes on two other nominees — Caitlin Halligan and Patricia Millett.

Female senators who have served on the Senate Judiciary Committee took to the Senate floor Thursday to criticize Republicans for blocking all three women’s nominations.

“It’s time for the Senate to stop the needless blocking of these women,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said. Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) joined Klobuchar on the floor.

"Do we have to get more women elected to the United States Senate because we can’t get women on the court?," Cantwell said. "It's time to move forward with qualified nominees to increase diversity on the courts."

Republicans have argued that the D.C. Circuit Court doesn’t need 11 seats because the eight judges currently serving have low caseloads. Some have argued that two of the seats should be moved to other appellate courts that have higher caseloads and judicial emergencies, while Democrats argue that the Republican obstruction is politically motivated.

“It is unfortunate that Republican are filibustering another talented, dedicated public servant nominated to serve on this crucial court,” Reid said. “It is truly a shame that Republicans would filibuster this nomination for unrelated political reasons.”

Pillard is a law professor at Georgetown University and has served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and as an Assistant Solicitor General.