The Los Angeles Times has this story today (headline: “Republican Senate accused of ‘slow walking’ Obama’s judicial nominees”) that features the delay in confirming Judge Restrepo to the Third Circuit.
Yesterday, Paul Gordon of People for the American Way posted this informative analysis of the current delays in federal judicial confirmations, also featuring Restrepo. One telling passage (emphasis in original):
Failing to confirm judges is not at all the norm even when the Senate and the White House are held by different parties. A useful basis of comparison is George W. Bush’s final two years in office, when Democrats took over the Senate after the 2006 midterms. A week after those elections, Senator Patrick Leahy – who was about to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee – criticized Republicans for blocking votes on more than a dozen of Bush’s qualified nominees. Partisanship took a back seat to responsible governing.
So in 2007, Leahy and new Majority Leader Harry Reid worked together to make sure the Judiciary Committee and full Senate fulfilled its constitutional responsibilities. During those two years, the Senate vetted and confirmed 68 of Bush’s circuit and district court nominees. In fact, the Democratic Senate had already confirmed 29 of Bush’s judges by this same point in the year (October 1 of 2007), a number that will increase to 33 over the weekend. In stark contrast, the McConnell Senate has so far confirmed only six Obama judges. No matter how you look at it, 33 ≠ 6.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that, when Senator Toomey’s office said way back in May that he was confident Restrepo would be confirmed “by year’s end,” Toomey knew already the Third Circuit would suffer from this inexplicable delay.