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President Obama Sends Judicial Nominees Back to Senate After Filibuster Rule Change

President Obama Sends Judicial Nominees Back to Senate After Filibuster Rule Change

January 8, 2014 — President Obama on Monday resubmitted 64 federal judicial nominations, less than two months after Senate Democrats approved rule changes that make it harder for Republican senators to block confirmation of his nominees, the Washington Times reports (Boyer, Washington Times, 1/6).

In November, the Senate voted 52-48 to eliminate most filibusters on presidential nominees, with all but three Democrats voting for the change and every Republican voting against it.

Under the new rules, the Senate is able to end debate on executive and judicial branch nominees with a simple majority, rather than the traditional supermajority of 60 votes. The change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations or legislation, but it does apply to all 1,183 executive branch nominations that require Senate confirmation.

Shortly after the change, the Senate confirmed Obama's nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is widely regarded to be second in influence only to the Supreme Court and often determines whether federal regulations are upheld or struck down (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/13/13).

Obama's resubmission of the nominations comes after Republicans last month rejected a courtesy request to keep the full roster of his nominees pending.

The list includes nominations for nine appeals courts positions. One of those nominees is Jill Pryor of Georgia for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her state's two GOP senators blocked her initial nomination, which was made in February 2012 (Washington Times, 1/6).