Nominations Battle Flares Again

Posted June 10, 2008 at 2:27pm

In yet another twist in the political sniping over judicial nominations, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recessed the chamber Tuesday afternoon so that a Judiciary Committee hearing could take place. The Senate is now back in session.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected to a unanimous consent request, made by Reid, to allow a Judiciary hearing to take place after the Tuesday party luncheons in order to use the hearing as leverage in the leaders’ battle over circuit court judges. Republicans have criticized Reid for not following through on a promise he made before the Memorial Day recess to move the appointments and threatened consequences.

Under Senate rules, once the chamber has reconvened, two hours must pass before committees are able to meet, but that rule is thrown out the window if the body doesn’t reconvene.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), Republican Conference vice chairman, called attention to that deal between the two Senate leaders and said that McConnell warned Reid that more procedural tactics will stall Senate business until Republicans are satisfied.

McConnell vowed “there are going to be consequences, if you break your promises,” Cornyn said.

Last week, McConnell forced the Senate clerk to read an almost 500-page global warming bill because of the judicial nominations dispute. Republicans have since insisted that more procedural mayhem is in the offing if Reid continues to ignore their appeals.