'Showdown' on Appellate Judicial Nominees Set

A confirmation vote scheduled for Monday could be a pivotal moment for how many appellate court bench spots the Senate will fill during the rest of this year, the Blog of Legal Times reports. Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is forcing a vote Monday afternoon on Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, a nominee considered to be highly qualified and noncontroversial. The move is a direct challenge to Republicans who have leaked plans that they will block all circuit court judges for the rest of the presidential election year.

If Reid succeeds in getting enough Republican votes to overcome the filibuster, it could pave the way for other noncontroversial circuit court nominees awaiting confirmation this year, including William Kayatta Jr., of Maine for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Richard Taranto, nominated to the Federal Circuit. If Reid does not succeed, it would suggest Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has party members in line to solidify a freeze on any circuit court confirmations until next Congress, nomination watchers say.