NY Times reported GOP senators' "threat" to filibuster judicial nominees, but not their prior claims that tactic violates Constitution

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

A New York Times article reported that President Obama faces a "threat from Senate Republicans, who earlier this month threatened ... to block his judicial nominees by filibuster." But the Times failed to point out that several of the same Senate Republicans who signed onto the letter "threaten[ing] ... to block [Obama's] judicial nominees by filibuster" have previously challenged the constitutionality of filibustering judicial nominees.

A March 11 New York Times article reported that President Obama faces a "threat from Senate Republicans, who earlier this month threatened, though in vague terms, to block his judicial nominees by filibuster if they were not consulted on vacancies from their home states." But the Times failed to point out that several of the same Senate Republicans who signed onto the letter "threaten[ing] ... to block [Obama's] judicial nominees by filibuster" have previously challenged the constitutionality of filibustering judicial nominees.

The letter to Obama, sent by all 41 Senate Republicans, stated: "Regretfully, if we are not consulted on, and approve of, a nominee from our states, the Republican Conference will be unable to support moving forward on that nominee." But as Media Matters for America documented, among the signatories were several senators, including Sens. Sam Brownback (KS), Chuck Grassley (IA), John Cornyn (TX), and James Inhofe (OK), who had previously said or suggested that filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutional.

As Media Matters noted, Politico and Roll Call both reported on the GOP senators' letter to Obama without noting that several of the signatories previously challenged the constitutionality of filibustering judicial nominees.

From the March 11 New York Times article:

President Obama will soon begin naming a small stream of nominees to the federal appeals courts, administration officials said, a step that will provide the first signs of how much he intends to impose any ideological stamp on the nation's judiciary.

White House lawyers have compiled lists of likely candidates for vacancies on several of the 12 regional appeals courts, notably those based in Richmond, Va., and New York.

Lawyers, scholars and political scientists have been watching closely to see whether and how much Mr. Obama will use his power to nominate judges to counterbalance the evident rightward shift of the federal courts under President George W. Bush.

[...]

One senior aide briefed on the meeting said that such an effort to limit Democratic senators' role could create friction. But the aide said that every White House tried to impose such an understanding at the beginning only to become flexible when it needed a senator's vote on some unrelated issue.

Mr. Obama also faces a different threat from Senate Republicans, who earlier this month threatened, though in vague terms, to block his judicial nominees by filibuster if they were not consulted on vacancies from their home states.

Underlying all the maneuvering is an awareness that much of it may serve as a dress rehearsal for the spring, when many expect Mr. Obama will have a Supreme Court vacancy to fill.

Posted In
Government, The Judiciary
Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Stories/Interests
Filibusters/Nuclear Option
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