The president’s simultaneously nomination of the three judges for the D.C. Circuit, first reported by CQ Roll Call on May 10, sends a strong message that he intends to push for the nominees in a way that he has not lobbied for his other lower-court choices. Obama had never appeared alongside a judicial nominee other than for the Supreme Court, according to advocates.
The D.C. Circuit is widely considered the second-most-powerful court in the nation because of the important national security and administrative law cases it hears. It received its first new judge since 2006 last month when the Senate confirmed Sri Srinivasan, the former principal deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department, in a unanimous vote. Senate Republicans had twice filibustered Obama’s previous choice to the court, Caitlin J. Halligan, whose nomination was withdrawn earlier this year.
Obama nominated Patricia Ann Millett, an appellate attorney in Washington; Cornelia T.L. “Nina” Pillard, a law professor at Georgetown University; and Judge Robert L. Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Senate confirmed Wilkins to his current post by a voice vote in December 2010.
Republicans are now stuck having to pass all three nominees and giving the President exactly what he wants, or filibustering the nominations and facing a bully pulpit call for the nuclear option to end judicial filibusters.
Either way, the President wins. I love it.