by Samantha Berkovits
In an unprecedented act of obstructionism, the Senate fell short of the votes needed to force a vote on Robert Bacharach, a nominee to the 10th Circuit. The 56-34 vote was the first time that a judicial nominee reported by the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support has been blocked on the Senate floor. Before the vote, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) invoked the “Thurmond Rule,” a myth that votes on appeals courts nominees should halt in the months before a presidential election.
Gershwin Drain was confirmed as a federal judge for the Eastern District of Michigan with a 55-41 vote along party lines. Drain had faced opposition from Republicans based on views he had expressed in the past regarding gun rights and the death penalty.
The Senate Judiciary Committee reported out three district court nominees this week; Thomas M. Durkin for the Northern District of Illinois; Jon S. Tigar for the Northern District of California and William H. Orrick, III for the Northern District of California. The Senate is in recess until Sept. 10 with 22 judicial nominees still awaiting floor votes. In total there are 76 judicial vacancies including 32 judicial emergencies.
The Latest from “In the News”
- “Openly gay Brooklyn prosecutor nominated for federal bench,” Thomson Reuters
- “Vacancy opening on federal bench in Maine,” The Portland Press Herald
- “Senate Confirms Judge for Michigan District; Committee Okays Three Others,” The Blog of Legal Times
The Latest from “Recommended Readings”
- “Filling the Eleventh Circuit vacancies,” The Hill
- “Superficial Change on the Federal Bench?,” California Lawyer
- “Senate on strike,” The Salt Lake Tribune
- Sen. Leahy on Judicial Stalemate
- Sens. Levin and Stabenow on Confirmation of Judge Drain
- Sen. Grassley on Filibuster of Robert Bacharach