By Nan Aron, President, Alliance for Justice
On Tuesday, I testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing that posed the nonsensical question, “Are More Judges Always the Answer?”
This is a committee whose Republican members include Darrell Issa, Steve King, and Louie Gohmert, so it will come as no shock to anyone that a topic that sounds like a segment on a Fox News show was not designed to dispassionately explore the nuances of judicial nominations and the workloads of federal judges.
So what was this hearing really about?
It turns out it was actually about President Obama’s nomination of three highly qualified individuals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court right below the Supreme Court in importance. You might ask why the House of Representatives is conducting a hearing on a subject that is the constitutional purview of the Senate, but the future of the D.C. Circuit is so important that it’s getting the full right-wing, high-volume Sturm und Drang treatment, even in places it doesn’t belong.
Of course the real action is on the other side of the Hill where Republicans in the Senate are doing everything they can think of to prevent the president from filling the three seats out of 11 that are currently vacant on the court. The Republicans are threatening a triple filibuster of all the nominees–no matter how qualified they are–claiming absurdly that there just isn’t enough work for the full complement of 11 judges the law requires. They began carrying out their threat today.