Yesterday, the Senate voted 88-12 to confirm Judge William Kayatta Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Kayatta, who President Obama nominated for this job more than a year ago, is the first federal appellate judge confirmed since Senate Republicans unilaterally declared they would block every single appellate nominee — regardless of their background or qualifications — last June.
In June, Republicans falsely claimed that the opposition party has historically blocked court of appeals nominees during the six months before a presidential election, and thus they were justified in obstructing Obama’s nominees. In reality, the Senate confirmed appellate judges during the pre-election period in every single recent election year except for President Clinton’s first term. President Reagan had 7 appellate judges confirmed during the six months before his reelection, and the first President Bush also saw 7 of his appellate judges confirmed in the half year before he was defeated by Clinton.
Notably, Republicans did not remove their blockade during the lame duck period even after President Obama was reelected.