Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced this afternoon that he will file cloture — the Senate procedure to break a filibuster — on seventeen judicial nominees currently being blocked by Republican obstructionism. Nearly all of these nominees were either unanimously approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee or were approved with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) as the only objection. Lee, of course, promised to block all of President Obama’s nominees and he also believes that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional.
Unfortunately, however, there is good reason to fear that the Senate’s Republicans will continue to obstruct these nominees, or at least force the Senate to waste days and days debating them. From the minute President Obama took office, obstruction of judicial nominees skyrocketed — the average Obama nominee must wait nearly four times as long for a vote as the average nominee at this point in the Bush presidency: