GOP Obstructionism, By the Numbers
It’s no secret that Republicans have done everything in their power to throw up road blocks for President Obama at every turn. And nowhere is their power to block the president greater than it is in the Senate, where Republicans have effectively imposed a blockade on the president’s nominees for dozens of seats on the federal judiciary.
It is clear from recent cases that no matter the issue—health care, immigration, environment, marriage equality, consumer protections, ethics—the judiciary will continue to make decisions that affect the lives of hardworking Americans as well as the success of the progressive legislative agenda. Every issue progressives fight for ends up in the courts. If you’re a progressive and you care about progressive issues, who gets a lifetime appointment to the federal courts should matter to you.
Conservatives know the courts matter, which is why they are doing everything in their power to stop the president from appointing more judges.
Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that Senate Democrats had had enough. Reid threw down the gauntlet and announced that he was filing cloture petitions (the procedural maneuver needed to halt a filibuster in the Senate) on an unprecedented 17 judicial nominees.
Now it’s up to Republicans to choose whether they will finally allow votes on these nominees right away or whether they will instead waste hundreds of hours of the Senate’s time on procedural votes.
Here’s the rundown.
Of the 22 judicial nominees currently awaiting an up-or-down vote in the Senate thanks to unprecedented Republican obstructionism:
- 10 were approved unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee
- 6 received just one “no” vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee
- 13 are from states with a Republican Senator who supports their nomination
- 11 would fill “emergency” vacancies, where the lack of a sufficient number of judges to hear cases is preventing courts from handling their caseloads — delaying or effectively denying the public access to the justice system.
- 9 are women
- 9 are minorities
Senate Republicans have imposed record wait times on President Obama’s nominees — delays more than FOUR TIMES longer than judicial nominees experienced under President George W. Bush:
More than 160 MILLION Americans live in a community with a courtroom vacancy — with the total number of vacancies now exceeding 80 because of unprecedented Republican obstructionism.
IN ONE SENTENCE: Americans don’t like a system where corporations and the wealthy have better access and a different set of rules to play by than everybody else, so it’s time to for Republicans to end their blockade so we can have a court system that works fairly for everyone and not just the privileged few.
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