The Senate did something amazing today. They actually confirmed a judge to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. That Todd Hughes is gay is secondary to the fact that they actually confirmed someone to a judgeship.
The US Courts are so riddled with vacancies that civil cases are having to be delayed in order to make sure that criminal cases are heard in a timely manner. In fact, the situation is so severe that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is threatening to end the Senate’s ability to filibuster judicial nominees.
There are thirteen more judicial nominees awaiting Senate votes. Most, if not all, of them are expected to be confirmed, but Senate Republicans, upset over the fact that they lost the 2008 and 2012 elections, have been holding the votes up for as long as possible. Prior to Obama’s victory in the Presidential election, there were no judicial vacancies.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesman Don Stewart has tried to claim that the Republicans are not responsible for the delays noting that four out of the thirteen nominees were only just reported out of committee last week. Stewart tried to claim that “So in Senate time, [they] have only been on the calendar about a month, which is not long at all. Plus, we’ve been moving judges since we came back in. None have been on the calendar since before a huge group came out of committee on July 18. There are no long-wait nominees at all.”
Prior to the Democrats taking over the Senate and Obama the Presidency, judicial nominees stayed on the calendar for less than a week.
Hughes was confirmed 98 to 0.