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Letters: Fill the D.C. Circuit court

June 07, 2013

Re "Breaking a logjam on D.C. Circuit," Editorial, June 3

The Times accurately evaluates the most recent skirmish in the continuing confirmation wars: the battle over President Obama's attempt to fill three vacancies on the 11-judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the nation's second most important court. Partisan obstruction by Republicans and Democrats has prevented well-qualified presidential nominees from being confirmed.

The editorial also criticizes Republican legislation in the Senate to transfer two vacant D.C. Circuit judgeships to other circuits and eliminate the third. In March, the U.S. Judicial Conference recommended to Congress that the D.C. Circuit needs 11 judges and that the circuits in need of more seats would not actually benefit from this legislation.

Now that Obama has nominated three qualified nominees, the Senate needs to expeditiously scrutinize and vote on them.

If the GOP allows up-or-down confirmation votes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could avoid the "nuclear option" of getting rid of the filibuster.

Carl Tobias


The writer is a professor of law at the University of Richmond.


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