Senate confirms judicial nominees

The Senate cleared four of President Obama’s judicial nominations Wednesday.

Republicans forced Democrats to vote to end debate before each one was confirmed. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Republicans are “filibustering for the sake of filibustering.”

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“Nominees have been held up, and held up, and held up for no good reason,” Leahy said. “They all could have been confirmed last year … but instead Republicans blocked their confirmation all year long.”

Republicans have been forcing cloture votes on executive branch and judicial nominees since Democrats used the “nuclear option” and unilaterally changed Senate filibuster rules so that only a simple-majority is needed to advance nominees instead of 60 votes.

Pedro Delgado Hernandez received a 98-0 vote to be a U.S. District Judge for Puerto Rico.

Pamela Reeves was confirmed to be U.S. District Judge for Eastern Tennessee on a 99-0 vote.

The Senate voted 100-0 to for Timothy Brooks to be U.S. District Judge for Western Arkansas.

Vince Chhabria will serve as U.S. District Judge for Northern California after the Senate voted 58-41.

Leahy said the “needless delay” of confirming judges only “hurts the people.”

Later Wednesday, the Senate also voted 55-45 to end debate on the nomination of Rose Gottemoeller to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. Her confirmation vote will occur Thursday.

All of these confirmation votes were delayed one day because of a northeast snowstorm at the beginning of the week.