Will the GOP Call Harry Reid's Bluff?

Yesterday, President Obama dared Republicans to continue their obstruction by announcing three nominations to the DC District Court of Appeals. His nominees are U.S. District Court Judge Leon Wilkins, Georgetown law professor Cornelia Pillard, and Patricia Ann Millett, a partner at the prestigious law firm Akin Gump. This announcement comes just two weeks after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened the so-called “nuclear option” if Republicans continue to obstruct President Obama's nominations.

Right on cue, the Republican leadership in the Senate signaled they may put Senator Reid's threat to the test. At his weekly press conference, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell questioned, “the appropriateness of confirming these three judges,” but dodged a question about whether the nominees should be filibustered. Senator McConnell also repeated one of the newest GOP talking points about the nominations, saying, “I think the issue is, if there is one, with regard to the D.C. Circuit, is whether this circuit court – which is apparently less busy than all but one circuit court in the nation – needs to have a full complement of judges.”

Anticipating such remarks, President Obama addressed that same talking point in his press conference earlier in the day. He said, “When a Republican was President, 11 judges on the D.C. Circuit Court made complete sense. Now that a Democrat is President, it apparently doesn't. Eight is suddenly enough.” President Obama called on Senate Republicans to stop the obstruction, and give these nominees a fair up-or-down vote. We will all have to wait and see whether that will actually happen. Stay tuned.

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