Leahy Urges Senate Leaders to Forge Deal on Stalled Nominations

Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:27pm

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday called on Democratic and Republican leaders to work out an agreement to clear dozens of largely noncontroversial executive branch nominations, accusing the GOP of trying to drag out consideration of the appointees.

In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Leahy noted that his committee has approved 26 of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations with little or no GOP opposition.

Still, he argued, the nominations continue to languish.

“Nineteen of the 26 were reported by the Judiciary Committee without a single negative vote from any Republican or any Democratic Senator on the Committee. In my view the cause of that backlog is Republican refusal to agree to consider these nominations in a timely fashion,” Leahy said.

Leahy urged McConnell and Reid to quickly come to an agreement to move the nominations that are not subject to filibusters. Leahy also asked that McConnell provide Reid with a list of nominations that Republicans will try to block so Democrats can begin the process of trying to find a way to advance them.

“The Republican leadership must work with the Majority Leader to schedule immediate votes on consensus nominations — many of which I expect will be confirmed unanimously — and consent to time agreements on those on which debate is requested,” Leahy said in the letter.

“If there are judicial nominations that Republicans truly wish to filibuster — after arguing during the Bush administration that such action would be unconstitutional and wrong — then they should so indicate to allow the Majority Leader to seek cloture to end the filibuster,” he added.