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Andrea Lyon Headshot

Stalling for Stalling's Sake

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The New York Times and the Washington Post today published editorials decrying the unwarranted delays in confirming the President's judicial nominees and the nomination of James M. Cole for the number two spot at the Justice Department, respectively. There is a theme here: say no to everything, stall and then stall some more and then criticize the President for not getting things done. There is currently an uncommonly high number of judicial vacancies which threatens the functioning of the nation's courts while Senate Republicans are persisting in playing an obstructionist game -- even though they threatened to ban filibusters if they did not get an up-or-down vote on every one of President George W. Bush's nominees, including some highly problematic ones. Do as I say, not as I do?

The point of advise and consent is to keep unqualified or ethically compromised people from being placed in positions of trust and authority. That makes sense, but these nominees have been vetted, approved in committee -- usually without dissent -- and deserve to be confirmed or voted down.

There has been a lot of crowing by the Republicans since their wins in November. "We won, so deal with it," is one of their resounding themes. Well, President Obama won too, and he has the right and the duty to nominate judges, to select those he deems qualified for important posts, and Congress should act promptly and responsibly instead of acting out.

This "I'm going to take my toys and go home" attitude is injurious to our needs as a country -- we need to fill these vacancies so trial can be held, opinions written, and decisions made both on the bench and before it.

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