Obama Blasts GOP as It Blocks 3rd Top Court Pick

Calls obstruction 'completely unprecedented' as 3rd nominee in a month foiled
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 19, 2013 12:33 AM CST
Robert Wilkins listens as President Obama announces his nomination earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – Senate Republicans blocked President Obama's third straight nominee to a key appellate court yesterday, continuing a fight that has stoked partisan tensions in the Senate. Robert Wilkins, a District Court judge in Washington who in 2010 was confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote, was nominated to fill one of three vacancies on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court—often referred to as the second most powerful court in the country, after the Supreme Court—has had two other Obama nominees blocked by Republicans this month, including Georgetown professor Cornelia Pillard.

The Senate voted 53-38 in favor of ending Republican-led delays, falling short of the 60 votes required to advance Wilkins' nomination. Republicans Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted with Democrats to end debate. Obama called the vote "completely unprecedented" obstruction. "Four of my predecessor's six nominees to the DC Circuit were confirmed," he said in a statement. "Four of my five nominees to this court have been obstructed. When it comes to judicial nominations, I am fulfilling my constitutional responsibility, but Congress is not."

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