Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

No Senate Judiciary Committee Action


Unbelievable but true:  Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee executive session failed to result in any action on the pending circuit-court nominees. 


Seriously.  Never mind that Fourth Circuit nominee Terry Boyle, whose original nomination by President Bush was in May 2001 (and who was nominated by the first President Bush in 1991), had previously been reported out of committee and had his nomination pending on the Senate floor since June 2005—until, that is, Democrats, in what I believe was an unprecedented step, denied the unanimous consent needed to keep his nomination pending over the August recess.  The Senate Republicans’ response to these shenanigans:  zilch.


Ditto for Ninth Circuit nominee William Myers, whose nomination had likewise been pending on the Senate floor for over a year (since March 2005) before the Democrats pulled their stunt. 


As for Fourth Circuit nominee William Haynes, first nominated three years ago today:  He remains mired in committee.


And Republicans failed even to raise the D.C. Circuit nomination of Peter Keisler because, according to what one exasperated source heard from a Republican staffer, Republicans “feared the Democrats would filibuster.”  Unforced surrender is, to be sure, one means of avoiding losing a fight, but it is hardly an honorable or sensible one.


Also, there have been no hearings on the nominations of Debra Livingston (to the Second Circuit), Raymond Kethledge (to the Sixth Circuit), and Stephen Murphy (to the Sixth Circuit), despite the passage of three months since their nominations.


The unfortunate fact is that too many Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have convinced themselves that inaction is the best—or safest—course.  They need to be taught otherwise.


Tags: Whelan


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