As part of our big, new redesign of the Alliance for Justice website, the Justice Watch blog has moved. To be sure you're getting all the latest news about the fight for a fairer America, visit us at www.afj.org/blog

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Maneuvering on Keisler Nomination?

The Hill reported yesterday that Senators Charles Grassley and Jeff Sessions are "holding up the nomination of Peter D. Keisler to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals" because "they do not want more than 10 judges on the court." As we mentioned in an earlier post, certain conservative members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have been historically -- and adamantly -- opposed to filling seats 11 and 12 on the DC Circuit because of the court's relatively light caseload. The Hill cites this opposition, and the fact that the caseload has declined even further, to explain why Grassley and Sessions -- "two of the staunchest supporters of President Bush's nominees" -- would break rank with the president. But maybe something more calculated is going on. The Hill also reports Grassley and Sessions are considering a "compromise": swapping votes in favor of Keisler for legislation eliminating the 12th seat. This, of course, would give conservatives what they want today (Keisler on the DC Circuit) without risking what they feared in the Clinton years tomorrow (additional Democratic appointees on the DC Circuit). It seems that the specter of up-coming elections is making itself known in more ways than one. The Hill further reports that:

Some conservative activists think Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist(R-Tenn.) is unwilling to schedule confirmation votes before the election for fear of a Democratic filibuster. A filibuster would hurt Frist's ability to claim that he defeated Democrats' filibuster of judicial nominees by threatening earlier this year to strip them of that power, a tactic that became known as the 'nuclear option.'

No comments: