President Barack Obama is finalizing an aggressive strategy to pack a court. It’s not the Supreme Court; it’s the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Whether Obama’s agenda succeeds or fails turns on whether he remakes that court in his image, and Republicans are preparing for battle.
Last week, Breitbart News reported that Sri Srinivasan had been unanimously confirmed as a judge on the D.C. Circuit, and that half the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court came from that court. There are eleven judgeships on the D.C. Circuit, three of which are still vacant.
Now the New York Times is reporting that Obama’s White House is working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to invoke the “nuclear option” first discussed almost a decade ago, changing longstanding Senate rules to say that judicial nominations cannot be filibustered. As such, nominations would be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 senators (or 50 plus Vice President Joe Biden as a tiebreaker) instead of 60 votes to invoke cloture to end debate and proceed to a final vote.
Senate sources confirm to Breitbart News that the NYT story is accurate; Obama is reportedly planning three rapid-fire nominations for the remaining D.C. Circuit seats and expecting Reid and the Democrats to invoke this nuclear option to quickly confirm them.