Senate Approves DOJ Nominee, but Backlog Remains

Posted October 6, 2009 at 12:36pm

The Senate voted 72-22 on Tuesday to confirm Thomas Perez for an assistant attorney general post in the Justice Department. Perez, nominated in March by President Barack Obama, won Senate approval despite Republican concerns that he might “use the post to undermine immigration law enforcement,— according to a GOP aide. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a procedural motion Monday to begin consideration of the nomination, but with more than the 60 votes needed to overcome GOP objections, the Senate instead moved to a vote on final passage. A host of Justice Department nominees remain on the Senate calendar, where Perez’s nomination lagged for four months. Four assistant attorney general nominees, including Dawn Johnsen, the controversial nominee to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, have yet to be considered. In a floor statement just before the Senate vote, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) voiced frustration at the backlog. “Ten months into the President’s first term, 16 nominations reported by the Judiciary Committee remain pending on the Senate’s Executive Calendar,— Leahy said. “The Senate must do a better job in confirming the leadership team of the Justice Department to ensure that the Nation’s top law enforcement agency is fully equipped to do its job.—