Cotton blocks Senate from approving Federal Claims judges

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) blocked a Democratic-effort on Tuesday to confirm a handful of judges to the Court of Federal Claims. 

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) tried to get unanimous consent to approve the nominations of Nancy Firestone, Thomas Halkowski, Patricia McCarthy, Jeri Kaylene Somers and Armando Omar Bonilla to be judges to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  

{mosads}But Cotton blocked Coons, and suggested that the court didn’t need additional judges. 

“It doesn’t need new judges. We should keep in mind that the number of active judges authorized for the Court of Federal Claims by statue, 16, isn’t a minimum number, it’s a maximum,” he said. 

The court’s case load has also decreased in recent years. There were 2,528 cases on it’s docket last year, which Cotton said was 68 percent fewer cases than 2007. 

“In light of the dramatic drop in caseloads at the court, it’s hard to justify spending more money to confirm additional judges,” he added. 

But Coons fired back that “while the actual number of cases considered may have decreased, [the court] faces a steadily increasing number of complex cases.”

After Cotton’s objection, the Delaware Democrat asked if it would be possible to confirm any of the judges on Tuesday, but the Arkansas Republican said no. 

“I have to object,” he said. “Again this is not so much about any particular nominee.”

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