Washington, D.C. - Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued
the following statement after the announcement from Senate
Republican leadership that it will not confirm any more
circuit court judges after June, given that this is a
presidential election year. They justified this by
referencing a fictional Senate "rule" named after Strom
"Establishing a blockade on the confirmation of federal
appeals court nominees is an outrageous abdication of the
Senate's responsibility to our courts and everyone who
depends on them.
This is another step in a calculated four-year campaign to
confirm as few nominees to the courts as possible.
The so-called Thurmond 'rule' is not a Senate procedure or
established tradition. Over the last 30 years, a number of
circuit court -- and district court -- nominees have been
confirmed well into presidential election years under both
Democratic and Republican presidents - including during both
terms of President George W. Bush.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to think he can invoke
a fictional rule to put a full stop to circuit court
confirmations and make those seats available to be filled if
his party wins the White House. Politicizing the courts in
this way does serious damage to both the judicial system and
Three solid years of obstruction was bad enough when it
wasn't justified by fictional rules. Inventing new barriers
to progress hurts us all - and for the good of a functioning
government, it must stop."
Nancy Zirkin is executive vice president of The Leadership
Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by
its diverse membership of more than 200 national
organizations to promote and protect the rights of all
persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works
toward an America as good as its ideals. For more
information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus
member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.