Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday that no federal appeals court judges — or, for that matter, Supreme Court justices — will be confirmed in the coming year. In response to a question about judicial confirmations, McConnell told Hewitt that “so far, the only judges we’ve confirmed have been federal district judges that have been signed off on by Republican Senators” (district judges are the lowest rank of federal judges under Article III of the Constitution). When Hewitt followed up by asking if McConnell believes this pattern will continue for “the balance of the session,” the majority leader replied “I think that’s highly likely, yeah.”
The term “session” refers to a one-year period of congressional business.
If McConnell carries out his threat to confirm no appellate judges in the next year, that would be an extraordinary departure from prior practice. According to the Federal Judicial Center, the Senate confirmed six appeals court judges in President George W. Bush’s seventh year in office, despite the fact that the Senate was controlled by Democrats. Presidents Clinton and Reagan also spent their seventh year in office in a period of divided government when the opposite party controlled the Senate, and yet the Senate confirmed 7 appeals court judges during that part of the Clinton presidency and it confirmed 10 appeals court judges during the same period in the Reagan presidency.
So that's fair, right? President Obama got a bill passed, so he has to be punished. This is how the modern GOP works, folks.