For the Senate, a Breezy Confirmation Vote

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch both voted for Vazquez. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch both voted for Vazquez. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Jason Dick
Posted January 27, 2016 at 6:54pm

This one was easy.  

After last week’s relatively dramatic floor vote to confirm Wilhelmina Wright to be a district judge in Minnesota, 58-36, the Senate voted to confirm John Vazquez to be a district judge in New Jersey .  

About the only drama in the 84-2 vote was guessing how many senators might miss it due to the ongoing fallout from Winter Storm Jonas and how many of the senators running for president would make it to vote. Although the conservative grass-roots organization Heritage Action for America on Tuesday said it would reserve the right to hold the vote against lawmakers on its legislative scorecard, only two Republicans, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, voted no. The light mood in the chamber was perhaps encapsulated by Virginia Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, who entered the chamber together, put their elbows up on the rostrum and smiled with thumbs up to signal their “aye” vote, as if posing for a snapshot.  

Of the four members of the chamber running for president — Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. — only Paul voted. He voted to confirm Vazquez.  

Cruz and Rubio were not expected to leave the campaign trail to come to D.C., but Sanders was in town. He met earlier in the day with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office and was on the Hill in the mid-afternoon right as the Senate was returning from the party policy lunches. But when it came time to vote on the Vazquez nomination, Sanders was absent.  

The 14 senators who didn’t vote were Cruz, Rubio, Sanders, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; James M. Inhofe, R-Okla.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Judiciary ranking member Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.; Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.