A judicial nominee was confirmed yesterday in a manner that highlights how absurd and abusive the US Senate has become:
Since her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 169 days ago, and 124 days after the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously reported her nomination to the floor, Justice Barbara Keenan saw the Senate unanimously end the anonymous hold on her nomination. This afternoon, the Senate voted 99-0 for cloture on Keenan’s nomination, then promptly confirmed her 99-0.
It’s a reminder, again, that the perniciousness of Senate procedure extends well beyond the 60-vote supermajority requirement. Simply the process of using 60 votes to end a filibuster is extremely time-consuming — a determined opponent can drag it out for days. For a top-priority, the majority will just get together and break the filibuster. But no one nominee is worth chewing up days worth of floor time. But in the aggregate, inability to get judges confirmed in a timely manner is a big deal.