Senate GOP Blocks Another DC Circuit Nominee

Courts 11.12,13

Less than two weeks after the filibusters of Patricia Millett to serve on the D.C. Circuit and Congressman Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Senate voted on Tuesday to block the nomination of Cornelia “Nina” Pillard to fill one of three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit, which is often considered the second-most important court in the United States.

“The Senate has redefined the bottom once again by blocking the Pillard nomination,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Today’s vote makes clear that the hyperpartisan fantasy of shutting down the government isn’t dying anytime soon. By refusing to vote on even the most capable and experienced nominees, the Senate is ensuring that the D.C. Circuit will continue to be understaffed and unbalanced indefinitely.”

Pillard is the third woman this year to be blocked from filling a vacancy on the D.C. Circuit, where only five women have served in its entire 120-year history.

President Obama nominated Pillard in June alongside Millett and Judge Robert Wilkins, whose cloture vote is expected as early as this week. If blocked, he will be the fourth Obama nominee to be filibustered in just two weeks.