White House seeks swift action on judicial nominations

Three lawyers in the White House Counsel’s office are working full-time to vet potential judicial nominees in advance of the November elections, part of an effort to leave the president’s mark on the federal bench.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that a majority of voters prefer Republicans in Congress to act as a check on President Barack Obama’s policy, according to the Washington Post. Turnout is likely to determine whether Republicans can take control of the Senate. Whites and older voters, key to Republicans, are more likely to vote in midterm elections this fall than younger voters and minorities, the story says.

The possibility that Republicans could gain Senate control is not lost on the White House and Senate Democrats, who are working swiftly to confirm the president’s judicial nominations, the New York Times reports. The Democratic effort could be shut down even before the elections, if Republicans halt the process or act to slow it down.

The Times quotes U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said many Republicans are resentful of the president’s encouragement to change filibuster rules that had blocked many nominees. “Part of his legacy should be that he pushed to change the rules and paid a price for it,” Graham said.

Republicans are likely to be in charge next year, Graham said, and Democrats “need to think long and hard about what they’re doing.”

On Monday, Democrats won confirmation of Michelle Friedland to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Friedland is a partner at Munger, Tolles, & Olson. After the confirmation, 49 nominees were pending to help fill 86 federal court vacancies.

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