Judges, filibusters and obstruction

It appears almost certain that President Obama will soon offer three nominees to fill the three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Good. Excellent. The names that are rumored to be the nominees are all highly qualified and excellent choices and should be confirmed in short order. I will discuss these probable nominees in greater detail if and when they are formally nominated.

As readers of my columns know, for some time I have suggested the president "flood the zone" and simultaneously nominate choices for the D.C. Circuit and all other vacant judicial posts. If the president follows through, as I believe he will, it would be an important moment for American justice, for ways of doing business in Washington, and very possibly for the rules of the United States Senate.

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Nothing is more important in America than the rule of law. Nothing is more important for the rule of law and American justice than filling the inexcusably large number of judicial vacancies. Nothing is more important for governance in America than the president and the Senate working to end the obstruction, gridlock and abuse of filibusters that is destroying the credibility and efficacy of the United States Senate.

In virtually every poll, the disapproval rating of Congress is approximately 75 percent. Any Democrat who believes the Senate is safe for Democrats and any Republican who believes the House is safe for Republicans is showing contempt for a huge majority American voters who are appalled by the ways of Washington today.

Advise and consent was never meant to become obstruct and destroy. It is wrong for Senate Republicans to employ more filibusters than any party in the history of the nation or the Senate. It is wrong for Senate Republicans to refuse to confirm Obama Cabinet agency nominees, to flood nominees with bogus questionnaires, and to turn Washington into a national joke and national tragedy by destroying the ability of government to govern.

Justice in America must never again be held hostage by the hard lines of radical right Republican factions and fanatic obstruction from Republican partisans. I would suggest all who care about justice in America take a close look at the excellent materials released by the Alliance for Justice that detail at length the damage to justice from the empty seats on the federal bench.

The Obama nominees should be confirmed.

The judicial nominees, Cabinet nominees and agency nominees should be confirmed — expeditiously.

Make no mistake. If GOP abuse of filibusters continues, there will be the need and the will to change the filibuster rules of the Senate to end the banana republic abuses that bring the Senate into widespread public disrepute.