POLITICS
11/18/2013 06:53 pm ET

Obama 'Deeply Disappointed' In Senate Republicans For Blocking Judicial Nominees

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President Barack Obama said Monday that he is "deeply disappointed" in Senate Republicans for blocking three of his nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

"I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have once again refused to do their job and give well-qualified nominees to the federal bench the yes-or-no votes they deserve," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "When it comes to judicial nominations, I am fulfilling my constitutional responsibility, but Congress is not. Instead, Senate Republicans are standing in the way of a fully-functioning judiciary that serves the American people."

Obama continued, "The American people and our judicial system deserve better. A majority of the United States Senate supports these three extraordinary nominees, and it is time for simple yes-or-no votes without further obstruction or delay."

The Senate voted 53 to 38 Monday to advance Robert Wilkins' nomination to the D.C. Circuit, falling short of the 60 votes Democrats needed. Previously, Republicans filibustered Obama's other nominees to the court, Nina Pillard and Patricia Millett.

Democrats have renewed calls for filibuster reform in the wake of the Republicans' actions.

"If the Republican caucus continues to abuse the filibuster rule and obstruct the president's fine nominees to the D.C. Circuit, then I believe ... a rules change should be in order," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said last week ahead of Republicans blocking Pillard's nomination.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made a similar statement on the Senate floor last Wednesday.

"The powerful interests that work to rig the Supreme Court also want to rig the lower courts," Warren said. "In the next five years, the D.C. Circuit will decide some of the most important cases of our time, including cases that will decide whether Wall Street reform will have real bite or whether it will just be toothless."

Read Obama's full statement below:

I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have once again refused to do their job and give well-qualified nominees to the federal bench the yes-or-no votes they deserve. The D.C. Circuit, considered the Nation’s second-highest court, has three vacancies. These are judgeships created by Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts and the Judicial Conference of the United States believe that these vacancies should be filled, not removed. And my constitutional duty as President is to nominate highly qualified individuals to fill these vacancies.


Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, and Judge Robert Wilkins have all received the highest possible rating from the non-partisan American Bar Association. They have broad bipartisan support, and no one has questioned their merit. Yet Senate Republicans have blocked all three from receiving a yes-or-no vote. This obstruction is completely unprecedented. Four of my predecessor’s six nominees to the D.C. Circuit were confirmed. Four of my five nominees to this court have been obstructed. When it comes to judicial nominations, I am fulfilling my constitutional responsibility, but Congress is not. Instead, Senate Republicans are standing in the way of a fully-functioning judiciary that serves the American people.


The American people and our judicial system deserve better. A majority of the United States Senate supports these three extraordinary nominees, and it is time for simple yes-or-no votes without further obstruction or delay.

Click here to read more on the Senate vote from The Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery.

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