As ThinkProgress has previously explained, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is the second most powerful court in the country. It’s also a bastion of right-wing jurisprudence thanks in no small part to Senate Republican filibusters. Two George W. Bush appointees on this court recently struck down clean air regulations that would have prevented “between 13,000 and 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits and 1.8 million days of missed work or school for each year.” Three conservative members of the court handed down a decision earlier this year that would make much of American labor law completely unenforceable, and render an important agency created to check Wall Street impotent to boot. At least two of the Court’s judges believe that all business, workplace or Wall Street regulation is constitutionally suspect.

Time, however, is a harsh mistress, and several of the court’s older Republican appointees have taken partial retirement in the last several years. As a result, this court that once boasted one of the most lopsided lineups in the country now is split 4-3 between Democratic and Republican appointees. Moreover, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the nomination of Sri Srinivasan to the DC Circuit, a nominee brimming with conservative endorsers and past jobs working for Republican judges and administrations. If Srinivasan is confirmed, Republican-appointees will no longer have a majority among the active judges on the nation’s second-highest court. If another Obama nominee is confirmed to one of the three remaining vacancies, Republican-appointees will be in the minority.

Which explains why Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) used Srinivasan’s hearing to introduce legislation ensuring that this won’t happen:


6 thoughts on “Sen. Grassley Proposes Eliminating 3 Seats On Powerful Court To Keep Obama From Filling Them

  1. Reblogged this on The Daily Thought and commented:
    You know anything to block Obama from actually making headway for the Democrats. The Republicans just don’t understand after the last 10 years I don’t think half the Americans will ever vote another Republican into office as President. Bush destroyed us, Obama is trying to rebuild us, and the dumb ass Republicans keep putting the country further and further behind while Obama publicizes every move they make. Keep on going guys before long Democrats will have everything they want because no one is going to vote Republican again.


    • Yep, that’s it alright. Although I’m opposed to what the GOP has morphed into, I don’t care much for the Democratic Party either. America needs both parties to be healthy, and an open debate forum where the best ideas can be legislated into public policy. What’s happening now is a travesty.


  2. I think not appointing qualified people to those empty seats is just horrible. I’d be in favor of some type of appointment system in which the President should be able to successfully appoint at least 1 person to the seat for each term that they serve so that the will of the people will be translated a little more fairly into the judicial branch. However, of course this means that they would have to pass the Senate, but allowing so many vacant seats is just wrong.


    • It is very wrong. Had the Senate enacted filibuster reform, as they promised, there wouldn’t be such an egregious backlog of judicial and executive branch appointments.


  3. Reblogged this on digger666 and commented:
    One of the greatest political defeats inflicted on FDR was over his scheme to pack the Supreme Court by creating additional positions, which, of course, he’d have been in position to fill. As it is, he served long enough to gain the majority on the Court the original scheme was meant to accomplish. Grassley’s scheme will come to nought…


Comments are closed.