Senate Blocks 10th Circuit Nominee, Apparently Shutting Down Confirmation Process for Appeals Judges

A noncontroversial nominee to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals won’t get a Senate vote after a failed effort to stop a Republican filibuster.

The attempt to stop the filibuster of Robert Bacharach’s nomination was four votes short, reports the The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. According to the story, the action “effectively shut down the process for confirming new federal appeals court judges on Monday, at least until after the election.” Bacharach is a U.S. magistrate judge in Oklahoma.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the block was part of a traditional “bipartisan timeout” before the election and it was not about the individual. The White House countered with a statement saying the number and length of judicial vacancies is unprecedented and confirmations are needed to ensure a functioning judiciary.

Last month, ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III expressed “grave concern” about the longstanding number of judicial vacancies in a letter (PDF) to McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to a press release. The letter asked for floor votes on Bacharach and two other noncontroversial federal appeals judges.

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