GOP blocks slate of Obama judicial nominees
© Cameron Lancaster

Senate Republicans blocked a slate of President Obama's lower court nominees Tuesday.  

Democratic Sens. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHorowitz offers troubling picture of FBI's Trump campaign probe Live coverage: DOJ inspector general testifies on Capitol Hill Democrats rip Barr over IG statement: 'Mouthpiece' for Trump MORE (Hawaii), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (N.Y.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism The Secure Act makes critical reforms to our retirement system — let's pass it this year Lawmakers honor JFK on 56th anniversary of his death MORE (Md.) asked for consent four times to bring up a total of 11 judicial nominations Tuesday, arguing that the pace of confirmation votes has created a backlog. 
"The judicial confirmation process has been at a crawl for years. Now it has come to a functional standstill," said Schumer, who is expected to be the next Senate Democratic leader. 
McConnell said the debate boils down to if the Senate is treating Obama's nominees the same way it treated past presidents' picks. He noted that at this point under President George W. Bush the Senate had confirmed 303 nominees compared to Obama's 324. 
Hirono fired back that the battle over the court nominees is about "the Senate doing its job." 
Democrats have repeatedly come to the Senate floor to try to move Obama nominees with little success. They note that since Republicans took back control of the Senate last year, senators have voted on 17 judicial nominations. 
Sen. Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziSenate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Budget process quick fixes: Fixing the wrong problem Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid MORE (R-Wyo.) said neither Republicans or Democrats were wholly to blame, but "as long as the other side is saying that we're holding things up, I've got to point out that it's not just a one-sided thing." 
The back-and-forth on the Senate floor comes amid a larger, entrenched battle over filling the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. 
Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the White House, said Tuesday that Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland will meet with six senators this week, including three Republicans. 
"There’s a reason why no Senate has ever had the audacity to do what this Senate is doing right now, because of how clear that mission is," he added. 
Bennet met with Garland earlier this month.