White House Official Blasts GOP for Obstructing Judicial Nominees

Posted June 10, 2010 at 11:35am

Updated: 1:24 p.m.

Senate Republicans have been “absolutely irresponsible” in their efforts to block President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees for months on end, particularly given that some open slots are considered judicial emergencies, a White House official vented Thursday.

The official pointed to a sharp contrast between the number of judicial nominees stalled under Obama’s first year in office versus those under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in their inaugural year.

First-year judicial nominees under Clinton waited an average of five days from committee vote to confirmation vote; under Bush, the average wait was 12 days. But in Obama’s case, nominees have waited an average of 70 days because of GOP obstruction, with about a dozen having been sidelined for more than 100 days.

The White House official also noted that while Bush and Obama had nine circuit court nominees confirmed on June 2, 2002, and June 2, 2010, respectively, Bush’s nominees waited an average of six days from committee vote to floor vote, whereas Obama’s nominees waited an average of 126 days.

Republicans are “delaying these nominations for no good reason,” said the official, who warned against playing politics with nominees, given the number of judicial vacancies that need to be filled.

But a senior Senate Republican aide shot down the suggestion that GOP lawmakers are holding up nominees for political reasons.

“It’s funny that an unnamed official is bent out of shape about nominees since the president didn’t even mention it at their meeting this morning,” the aide said. “Republicans have been more than happy to work with the administration on nominees, but unfortunately we don’t run the committees or schedule the Senate floor … yet.”