In October 2014, we released “The Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit,” a report detailing the impact of the nation’s oldest circuit court vacancy and examining the record of the judges of the Seventh Circuit. At that time, there was no nominee for Judge Terence Evans’ seat in Wisconsin, which had been vacant for almost five years. The report showed a divided court on which a longstanding vacancy directly influenced the outcome of important constitutional issues. The report also detailed the efforts of Republican Senator Ron Johnson to delay filling the vacancy. Read more
You often hear the refrain “elections have consequences” and that who you vote for matters. Debates, then, serve the important role of highlighting candidates’ positions so that the electorate can make an informed decision come Election Day.
So far this presidential election season, debate moderators have asked both Democratic and GOP candidates plenty of questions about how they would wield executive power and work with Congress to achieve their policy agenda. But there’s one branch of government that has been notably missing from all of the debate moderators’ questions: the Supreme Court. Read more
“I think it’s clear that there is no Thurmond Rule” – Republican Senator Mitch McConnell
“There is no Thurmond Rule” – Republican Senator Orrin Hatch
With only 11 judges confirmed, 2015 was the worst year for judicial confirmations since 1960. Thirty-one nominees were left pending, including 14 noncontroversial nominees ready for votes on the Senate floor. With this abysmal record, it’s clear that the Senate’s unapologetic Republican majority will persist in its strategy of obstruct and delay, trying to keep vacancies open and limit the president’s influence on the judiciary. The excuses have started already, with Republican leadership alluding to a supposed Senate custom, known as the “Thurmond Rule,” of cutting off judicial confirmations during a presidential election year. The Thurmond Rule is complete nonsense, but before explaining why, it’s worth noting the destructive results of last year’s historic obstruction and where things stand today. Read more