Reid said he expects the White House to provide more nominees for the District of Columbia Circuit of Appeals, which could set up a battle over Senate rules.
“I’m opposed to the nuclear option. That has not changed. I don’t mind changing the rules,” Sen. Carl Levin said. “I want to do it according to the rules. So, it’s not a question of whether you change the rules, the question is whether you try and do it in a way which is inconsistent with the rules, and I would not favor that course.”
The Michigan Democrat was among the senators who led an effort in January to stop Reid from changing the rules with only Democratic votes.
Republicans, led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, contend that the judicial vacancies are a function of Obama not submitting names and that, in fact, they have been more cooperative in getting judges confirmed than their Democratic counterparts were at the start of President George W. Bush’s second term in 2005. That fight took the Senate to the brink of a procedural standoff before the “gang of 14” senators reached an agreement. “About 75 percent of the vacancies that we have in the judiciary don’t even have nominees,” McConnell said. “So we have treated the president’s judicial nominations very, very fairly by any objective standard.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.