If Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn feel that Judge Bacharach is “exactly what we want to see on the [Tenth Circuit] court,” I probably will be glad they refused to vote for him. But things have gone to a point far beyond ridiculous.
With a vote of 56-34-3 the Senate fell short of the 60 votes needed to force a vote on Tenth Circuit nominee Robert Bacharach, even though he had the endorsement of both of his home-state Republican senators, was rated unanimously well-qualified by the American Bar Association and was approved by all but one member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This vote marks the first time that a judicial nominee reported by the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support has been blocked on the Senate floor. It also sets a new standard for filibusters of judicial nominees.
The two Oklahoma Republican senators who have consistently expressed strong support for Bacharach were among the senators who blocked a vote Monday, both voting “present,” even as Sen. Tom Coburn said Bacharach is “exactly what we want on our court,” and Sen. Jim Inhofe called him “one of the best nominees.”
In voting against the cloture motion, senators cited the so-called “Thurmond Rule,” a myth that there is an expiration date for confirming judges, which has been dispelled by legal experts.
“The Thurmond rule is one of the reasons the Senate has become an American headache,” said a New York Times editorial previewing the vote. “There are 76 vacant federal judgeships, 32 regarded as emergencies because cases are overwhelming the existing judges. Fifteen consensus nominees are pending now. And yet Republicans, far more than Democrats did under President George W. Bush, are putting politics and ideology above a functioning judiciary system, even on noncontroversial nominees.”
For the record, they’re just making this rule up. They’re not confirming Judge Bacharach because they don’t want to ruin their argument that it is too close to the election to confirm any judges. Of course, every previous Congress has confirmed judges during this time period. They are just lying.