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Patrick Leahy Vows to Keep Pushing Judicial Nominees

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo

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Republicans said Wednesday that they are not yet planning to block district court nominees, only appellate level picks. A blockade on lower court nominees could come by September, however, they said.

The Thurmond Rule is named after the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) — and alternately called the “Leahy Rule” by some Republicans.

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Hurwitz to the 9th Circuit, after narrowly overcoming a GOP-led filibuster attempt.

Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) defended the GOP’s decision this afternoon, saying Democrats were being “disingenuous to suggest that Senate Republicans have not been fair in the consideration and confirmation of judicial nominees. And, it is entirely appropriate and consistent with past practice to invoke the Thurmond-Leahy rule at this point.”

Grassley emphasized that the rule the GOP has decided to invoke applies to circuit court nominees only.

“The Senate considered district court nominees into the fall during the last two presidential election years but not circuit court nominees, as was said today. In fact, during both 2004 and 2008, the last circuit court nomination considered was in June. No one has suggested that no more district court nominations will be considered this year.”

Grassley added that the Senate has confirmed 30 more circuit and district court nominees during Obama’s term so far than were confirmed in the last four years of President George W. Bush’s term.

John Stanton contributed to this report.

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