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Judicial Confirmation Process

Changing the Rules: The Senate Filibuster - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
Carrie Severino, M. Edward Whelan III, Dean A. Reuter December 19, 2013

Senate FloorLast month, the U.S. Senate changed its procedural rules well into the tenure of a Congress. The rules change concerned the filibuster. Where previously a cloture vote to end debate on all filibusters required 60 votes, cloture votes on a President's Executive Branch and judicial nominees now require only 51 votes. The rules change stipulates that U.S. Supreme Court nominees are not covered by the change.

Did the Senate act contrary to its own rules, procedures, and customs by making this change in the middle of a Congress, instead of at the beginning of a Congressional term? Is the rule change a proper corrective measure in light of the growth of the use of the filibuster over the past 20 years? Or is the change an example of a majority determined to accomplish its ends merely by virtue of its being a majority? Perhaps more importantly, is the rule change here to stay, or might it be reversed in the future? These and other questions were addressed by our experts.

Featuring:

  • Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director, Judicial Crisis Network
  • M. Edward Whelan III, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]

Welcome & Opening Address by Mike Lee - Event Audio/Video

2013 National Lawyers Convention
Michael S. Lee, Leonard A. Leo November 20, 2013

Mike S. LeeSenator Mike Lee of Utah opened the Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention with an address to attendees on Thursday, November 14, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Senator Lee was introduced by Mr. Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society.
[Watch or listen now!]

Dumbing Down the Courts - Podcast

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
Curt Levey, John R. Lott Jr., Dean A. Reuter September 27, 2013

Dumbing Down the CourtsWhat has caused the increased battles over judicial confirmations?  Which nominees have had the most difficult confirmations? Using the largest, most detailed data set on judicial confirmations ever assembled, a new book, Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench, shows that it is the smartest/most potentially influential nominees who have had by the far the most difficult time getting confirmed.

Featuring:

  • Mr. Curt Levey, President and Executive Director, The Committee for Justice
  • Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., Author, of Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges off the Bench
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]

ABA Urges Confirmation of Judicial Nominees

ABA Watch August 2012
August 03, 2012

ABA Urges Confirmation of Judicial NomineesOn June 20, the ABA sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voicing its concerns about the slow pace of the judicial confirmation process. The ABA is concerned that judicial nominations will come to a halt because of the so-called “Leahy-Thurmond Rule,” in which the Senate stops confirming “long-standing” judicial nominees during a presidential election year. The last circuit-court nominees were confirmed in June during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, and in July during the 2000 campaign... [Read more!]

ABA Weighs in on Judicial Selection

ABA Watch August 2012
August 03, 2012

ABA Weighs in on Judicial SelectionThe ABA has long supported “merit” selection in appointing state-court judges over elections or the federal model. Former American Bar Association President Alfred Carlton convened the Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary in 2003 to study state judicial systems. The Commission was created to “provide a framework and ABA policy that enable the Association to defuse the escalating partisan battle over American courts; to accommodate the principles of merit selection in a new model of judicial selection that minimizes the escalating politicization.” In its report to the ABA, the Commission described recommendations for states to improve their judicial-selection processes so as to avoid this “politicization.” The Commission’s recommendations, adopted by the ABA, state that the “preferred system of state court judicial selection is a commission-based appointive system.” The recommendations go on to describe a Missouri Plan-style appointment system where judges are appointed by the governor from among those on a list of candidates compiled by a commission. These judges would ideally be immune to removal from their positions save for cases of misconduct... [Read more!]