In a direct challenge to Republicans, President Obama urged the Senate to “do its job” and vote on his three nominations to the influential Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals.
“There is no reason aside from politics for Republicans to block these individuals from getting an up or down vote,” he said.
In what NBC’s First Read team believes may be a first for the president, he publicly announced his judicial picks at the White House Rose Garden, turning up the heat on Republicans.
“These are no slouches. These are no hacks,” said Obama of his nominees: appellate lawyer Patricia Ann Millett, law professor Cornelia Pillard and federal district judge Robert Leon Wilkins. “These are incredibly accomplished lawyers by all accounts.”
In pushing for a swift vote on his nominees, the president took aim at Republicans for delays in previous nominations. According to judicialnominations.org, the average Obama judicial nominee has had to wait 228 days for confirmation. The average was 148 days under President George W. Bush. Some have waited for years.
“What’s happening now is unprecedented. For the good of the American people it has to stop,” said Obama. “This is not about principled opposition, this is about political obstruction.”
Democratic consultant and columnist Jason Stanford agreed. “This is an incredibly important part of the conservative strategy not to win over popular opinion and not to just obstruct Obama’s appointments, but to nullify what he’s doing.” he said on Jansing & Co.
Congress has authorized 11 judgeships for the D.C. circuit, but Republicans are questioning whether the court is busy enough to justify filling the seats.
“The workload does not constitute them filling these as an emergency,” Republican strategist and Sun-Sentinel columnist Noelle Nikpour told Jansing & Co. “All this is an excuse for Obama to get his policies through.”