Despite public calls for bipartisanship after their electoral gains, Congressional Republicans continue to use every means possible to block the Obama administration from governing. Beyond their legislative roadblocks, Republicans are obstructing routine approval of qualified and noncontroversial nominees and judges. A scan of recent history shows that confirming presidential nominees in a lame duck session has been as much a fall tradition as the pardoning of a turkey, until now.
President Obama has put forward quality candidates for consideration. There are dozens of critical vacancies in the executive branch, including the surgeon general, an assistant secretary for homeland defense, and a bevy of ambassadorships critical to our national security. Many of these nominees are long-overdue for a vote and their absence is impeding the government’s ability to function.
There are also currently dozens of judicial vacancies on the US Court of Appeals and US District Courts. The price we pay for these vacancies is steep. According to a recent Brennan Center for Justice study, judicial vacancies “slowed the court’s ability to resolve motions and try cases, which drove up litigation costs, caused evidence to go stale, made it harder to settle civil cases, and in some instances, pressured clients to plead guilty.”Read more after the jump.