Sri Srinivasan Confirmed Unanimously

Sri Srinivasan was confirmed unanimously this afternoon, 97-0, for a position on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. He was originally nominated on June 11, 2012 for a position vacant since November 1, 2008.

So there’s one obvious point, and one huge question.

The point: yes, it’s absolutely ridiculous that a unanimous pick took eleven months. The only somewhat reasonable part of the delay was in the run-up to the 2012 election; it’s traditional for the out-party to drag their feet to prevent confirmations just before an election, even though Republicans in this case push that to (and beyond) reasonable limits. But there was a lame duck session; they could have taken care of unopposed nominations then. Or in February, March, or April.

The question: having given up on Srinivasan, will Republicans now blockade the remaining three vacancies on the DC Circuit Court, perhaps on the bogus pretext that those judges aren’t actually needed? If so, that’s something that’s almost certainly worth going nuclear over. It’s certainly possible, however, that they’re only going to target those they consider “extremists” — and that those will be a small minority of all nominees. Surely that’s what Mitch McConnell and the Republicans would claim as the July showdown over obstruction gets closer. But as of now, we don’t really know the answer.

And for that, yes, it would help if there actually were nominees for those three vacancies.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.