Bench Memos

Filibuster Deal Trivial for Judicial Nominations

As this Politico article reports, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed today to some changes to the Senate rules governing filibusters but rejected the “more sweeping changes” that some on the Left were urging.

I won’t try to summarize here the changes that affect legislation and executive-branch nominations. On the matter of judicial nominations, a knowledgeable Senate source informs me that (1) the deal makes no changes at all for Supreme Court and federal appellate nominations; and (2) for district-court nominations, the only change is that if and when cloture is achieved, the post-cloture time on the nomination is limited to two hours, rather than the 30 hours under the current rule. (The deal makes no changes to the pre-cloture procedures for district-court nominations.) This strikes me as a trivial change.

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