WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to nominate three judges to a critical federal court in a move that The New York Times says "will effectively be daring Republicans to find specific ground to filibuster all the nominees."
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is considered nearly as powerful as the Supreme Court and is known as a proving ground for potential high-court nominees. The three vacancies are part of a staffing crisis that has plagued the judiciary, as Obama's nominees have been bottled up in the Senate by GOP obstruction. And while he has had to wait longer than past presidents to have judges approved, he has also nominated them at a slower pace.
A Senate Democratic aide said that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been pressing the president to make such a move to raise the pressure on Republicans. "That is what Reid has been pressing for and why we cleared Sri last week," the aide said, referring Sri Srinivasan, who was recently approved for the Court, reducing the gap from four to three. He was approved 97-0 once Republicans dropped procedural objections.