Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Republican Opposition To Consensus Nominees

[On Wednesday, Senate Republicans announced they are invoking the so-called “Thurmond Rule” and will not allow further votes on the President's circuit court nominees this year, despite continued high vacancies and consensus bipartisan nominees reported by the Judiciary Committee and awaiting consideration on the Senate calendar.]
“This shutdown is consistent with what the partisan Senate Republican leadership did in 1996 and again at the end of President Clinton’s presidency, and can be contrasted with how Democrats acted in 1992, 2004 and 2008.  This is really a challenge to the Senators who have said that they will not support these filibusters and this kind of shutdown, and to those Republican Senators who support the circuit court nominees from Maine and Oklahoma.  They should reject this obstruction, just as the Senate rejected the filibusters of Judges Paul Watford and Andrew Hurwitz.  It is hard to see how this new 'Thurmond Rule' shutdown is anything more than another name for the stalling tactics we have seen for months and years. 
“I have yet to hear any good reason why we should not continue to vote on well-qualified, consensus nominees, just as we did up until September of the last two presidential election years.  I have yet to hear a good explanation as to why we cannot work to solve the problem of high vacancies for the American people.  I will continue to work with the Senate leadership to try to confirm as many of President Obama’s qualified judicial nominees as possible to fill the many judicial vacancies that burden our courts and the American people across the country.”   


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