GOP Senate Rubber Stamping Obama’s Judicial Nominations

We’ll do audacious executive action over the course of the rest of the year, I’m confident of that,” promised Barack Obama’s chief of staff.  Given the president’s unlawful unilateral actions, there is no reason to doubt that promise. Despite those promises and growing opposition from within their own conference, Senate Republican leaders continue to confirm federal judges nominated by President Obama.

On Wednesday, senators will be asked to vote in favor of John Michael Vazquez of New Jersey.

Vazquez was recommended for nomination by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) 9%.  Few would be surprised to learn he donated thousands of dollars to both Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) 16%, but even fewer would contend Mr.Vazquez would lift a finger to rein in this president’s executive overreach.

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MEMO: Fight Obama’s Overreach by Refusing to Confirm Nominees

To:
From:
Date:
Subject:
Interested Parties
Heritage Action
January 15, 2016
Fight Obama’s Overreach by Refusing to Confirm Nominees

President Obama began his final year in office by taking aim at the Second Amendment and unilaterally shredding immigration caps set by Congress without congressional approval. On Wednesday, his chief of staff Denis McDonough made clear the year would continue in a similar fashion, announcing that “We’ll do audacious executive action over the course of the rest of the year, I’m confident of that.”

Repeated executive power grabs threaten to undo the system of checks and balances written into our Constitution. The president’s actions have not only marginalized the legislature, they have also begun eroding the independence of our nation’s judicial system by stacking the courts with liberal judges who interpret the Constitution to serve this president’s radical progressive agenda.

Our system of government requires each branch to jealously guard its prerogatives, and President Obama routinely tramples over the legislature’s prerogatives. Senators should not stand by idly for the next 12 months. They must act to reassert their constitutional prerogatives.

Obama’s Undeniable Impact on Federal Courts

While the pace of judicial confirmations has slowed since 2015, much of the damage has already been done. At this point in his presidency, President Obama has had more judicial nominees confirmed than President Bush. He has successfully appointed 55 appeals court judges and 260 district court judges, approximately 30% and 40% of the total seats, respectively. Granting any more lifetime appointments to federal judges whose views align with this president’s radical ideological agenda is indefensible.

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Morning Action: Obama Uses Judicial Nominees to Distract from Scandals

JUDICIAL NOMINEES.  President Obama has attempted to shift the public’s focus from the scandals in his administration, the IRS, Benghazi, and the DOJ to judicial nominees; he would like to emphasize so-called Republican “obstructionism” if Republicans should oppose his nominees.  Obama decided to nominate three more judges to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most powerful court in the nation, a move that is seen as “deliberately provocative” by Republicans:

The decision to appoint new judges is a clear indication that the White House is closely working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Nevada Democrat has repeatedly expressed frustration this year with GOP tactics, and is considering changing the upper chamber’s procedures for judicial nominees.

The new nominees, who have yet to be named, could decide the fate of Obama’s two biggest legislative accomplishments — the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act — which fall under the D.C. Circuit’s jurisdiction. The court is also expected to handle Obama’s anticipated attempt to combat climate change through regulations, which will attract a slew of legal challenges.

Democratic operatives say Obama needs to move past the controversies over the IRS and the Departments of State and Justice, which they argue have been largely trumped up by Republicans. 

Republicans think the maneuver has another aim: to build public support for triggering the nuclear option, a controversial tactic to change the Senate’s rules with a simple majority vote. 

If Republicans use filibusters to stymie the appellate court nominees — along with the nominations of Richard Cordray, Obama’s choice to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Gina McCarthy, his pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Tom Perez, the nominee for Labor secretary — Democrats say they will be justified in changing the rules by a party-line vote.  

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