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Analysis: Obama's Nominees Blocked By Republican Senators

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D.C. is home to the two courts considered to be the most powerful in the country — the U.S. Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit Court. But there are currently three vacant seats on the Circuit Court, and President Obama is having a hard time getting his nominees confirmed. The Senate is scheduled to vote today on the latest nominee, and, like the two who preceded him, Robert Wilkins will likely face resistance from Republicans. Now Democrats are seeking new strategies, and pressure is mounting for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to consider a controversial rule change. David Hawkings, writer of the Hawkings Here column for Roll Call, has some of the latest details.

On Republican senators blocking two of Obama's nominees:

"They are giving one reason: they assert that the D.C. Circuit does not have enough work to justify the eight judges that are already sitting there. There is a welter of data on this, some of it supports their point of view, some of it supports the opposite point of view, which is there's plenty of work for these judges to do. So, refereeing that is kind of difficult. But it is a very simple reason.

On Sen. Harry Reid's effort to change the Senate rule so that a minority can't block nominations:

"I think it will increase pressure, but I don't think the indications that we have is quite simply that Sen. Harry Reid does not have the votes to pull this off — for one pretty good reason, which is it would destroy whatever comedy and collaboration are left in the Senate. The notion is if hey do this now, and the Republican takes control of the Senate in the 2014 elections, which is decently possible, the Republicans would race through planning their nominees."

All three nominees who were blocked by Republicans this year happen to be women. On whether the political strategy will work as the battle over judicial nominations continues:

"I don't think it will work — Some Democrats will raise this as their complaint, that some Republicans are out to wage a so-called war on women. There are already three women on the court, so this would actually bring it to a 6-5 male-female ratio, which is the only thing to gender balance of any senior federal court in the country."

Listen to the full interview here.


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