GOP Senators Want Obama to Renominate Bush Judges

Posted March 2, 2009 at 5:00pm

Senate Republicans called on President Barack Obama Monday to renominate a handful of former President George W. Bush’s judicial nominations and to continue the long-standing practice of consulting with home-state Senators before tapping candidates for district and circuit court positions.In a letter signed by the entire Conference, the Republicans said that despite the often bruising nature of judicial nominations, they want to work with the Obama administration.“Unfortunately, the judicial appointments process has become needlessly acrimonious. We would very much like to improve this process, and we know you would as well,— the Republican Senators wrote.Noting that Bush renominated a number of former President Bill Clinton’s judicial nominees, Republicans reiterated a request that Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) made earlier this year that Obama tap some of Bush’s court hopefuls who did not see votes in the Senate. To do so “would help change the tone in Washington if your Administration would take the same bipartisan step,— the Republicans said, highlighting Peter Keisler, Glen Conrad and Paul Diamond as potential candidates for renomination.The GOP Conference also called on Obama to continue the practice of consulting with Senators before nominating individuals to district and circuit court positions. They argued that in at least one recent published report, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) indicated he may no longer make these consultations a requirement for moving a nominee.Republicans warned that if Obama does not consult with Members before forwarding his court picks, the Conference will look to block them.“We hope your Administration will consult with us as it considers possible nominations to the federal courts from our states. Regretfully, if we are not consulted on, and approve of, a nominee from our states, the Republican Conference will be unable to support moving forward on that nominee,— the lawmakers wrote.