University of Pittsburgh

Arthur Hellman Comments on Speedier Pace in Confirmation of Obama Judicial Nominees

Publish Date/Time: 
July 21, 2014

President Obama’s judicial nominees have been moving increasingly quickly to Senate confirmation, and the Legal Intelligencer (part of ALM Media Properties) asked Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman why this is now happening.

Hellman suggested that the gutting of the filibuster in favor of a simple majority was the reason for the speedier pace.

The nuclear option changed the landscape, Hellman said.

“The dynamics are completely different” now, he said, explaining that when something as significant as changing the 60-vote threshold is changed, it changes the game since interest groups that might have once put money into fighting a nominee might lose interest and some senators who might have voted against a nominee might change their minds in the face of an, essentially, impossible fight.

Hellman also cited the midterm elections as putting pressure on the White House to move its nominees through while it has a majority in the Senate, saying of Obama before the midterms, “He has a window now that is going to close soon.”

Read the full article here.        

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