An interesting thing happened yesterday (May 21, 2012). The U.S. Senate voted 61-34 to approve an Obama appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals. (Paul J. Watford, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit). This is important because the judiciary has a number of vacancies at every level and the Republicans have been blocking appointments in the judiciary and elsewhere since Obama took office.
I had been alerted to the vote early in the day by Marge Baker of People for the American Way, who said this:
Both the White House and Senate Majority Leader Reid are really buckling down on trying to move stalled judicial nominees. There is a particular urgency for this nomination. The caseload per judge is so bad on the Ninth Circuit that the vacancy Watford would fill has been formally declared a “judicial emergency” by the Administrative Office of United States Court. According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee, the Ninth Circuit has 1,453 cases per three-judge panel. She said that’s by far the highest in the nation, and more than 400 more than the next highest court.
KUDOS to all 52 Democrats present (and Bernie Sanders) who voted for the appointment, as well as these 8 Republican senators who joined the democratic majority:
John McCain, AZ
Jon Kyle, AZ
Scott Brown, MA
Susan Collins, ME
Olympia Snow, ME
Lindsey Graham, SC
Richard Lugar, IN
ONIONS to our Missouri senators:
Roy Blunt who voted against it
Claire McCaskill who was absent for the vote
And a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT that neither the Washington Post nor the St. Louis Post-Dispatch deemed the vote worthy enough for even a brief. Our Congress is so dysfunctional that whenever the lawmakers agree to agree, we should take note and thank them.
Here’s the full roll call vote