An op-ed by law professor Carl Tobias in the Des Moines Register criticizes Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley for scheduling today’s hearing on five nominations, two each to fill circuit and district court vacancies and one for Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Specifically, he charges that including so many nominees in one hearing “violate[s] regular order” and “jeopardize[s] his fair and efficient Judiciary Committee stewardship” and “his cordial relationship with Democrats.”
Of course, it will remain difficult to staff the federal government as long as Senate Democrats engage in wholesale obstruction. After inventing the routine use of the filibuster as a weapon against appellate court nominees during the second Bush administration, Senate Democrats have compelled a vote for cloture on all five Trump judicial nominees who so far have had a floor vote, in addition to all of the nominees to the top three positions in the Justice Department. U.S. Court of Appeals nominees from states represented by Democratic senators have also been impeded by the refusal of those senators to return blue slips, a courtesy extended to home state senators before the Judiciary Committee holds a hearing for a nominee.