Filibuster Showdown Ends in Huge Victory
Great news! There will never be another filibuster of an executive branch or non-Supreme Court judicial nominee ever again.
In a huge victory for progress over senseless partisan obstructionism, Democrats, under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), voted this afternoon to eliminate the filibuster on nominations. This will bring an end to the GOP’s unprecedented blockade of highly-qualified nominees.
Here’s three charts that neatly sum up why Democrats had to take this step.
First, President Obama’s judicial nominees have been forced to wait months, if not years, just to get a vote — if they ever get an up-or-down vote at all. This is significantly longer than either President Bush or President Clinton’s nominees had to wait.
These extended delays are of course due in no small measure to the GOP’s decision to force Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) to file cloture motions on everything from routine Senate business and even district court judges, which previously drew little opposition.
You can see here that nominees who literally nobody opposes have been forced to wait and wait and wait just to get a vote. This gums up the Senate and forces Democrats to waste valuable floor time on nominees instead of important legislative business.
But all of that is over now. President Obama — and all future presidents — will be able to put together their administration and fulfill their constitutional duty to fill judicial vacancies under fair rules that prevent a minority in Congress from trying to retroactively veto laws and the results of elections.
The results of today’s huge victory are already apparent. Patricia Millett, one of the president’s previously-blocked nominees for the D.C. Circuit, cleared a GOP filibuster on simple majority vote (55-43). She and other nominees Republicans have been using the now-defunct filibuster to block will now be approved after the Senate’s Thanksgiving recess.
BOTTOM LINE: The American public is tired of partisan obstruction and wants Congress to do its job. In the Senate that means allowing simple up-or-down votes on nominations. By reforming its rules, the Senate will finally return to its proper role as spelled out in the Constitution: advise and consent, not obstruct and delay.