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Millett confirmed! Thank you.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Moments ago, the U.S. Senate confirmed Patricia Ann Millett to a judgeship on the all-important U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  To say this was a “hard-fought” confirmation would be a major understatement, and I want to thank you for all of your help in this fight.

As you know, since President Obama took office nearly five years ago, Senate conservatives have waged an unprecedented campaign to prevent him from filling vacancies on the federal bench. Nowhere was this obstruction more evident than in the efforts made by conservatives to keep the President from filling four vacancies on the D.C. Circuit. 

Through successful filibusters over the past two years, Senate conservatives blocked the confirmation of Caitlin Halligan, the first of the President’s exceptionally well-qualified nominees to the D.C. Circuit.  Then, after securing the confirmation of Sri Srinivasan to a seat on that court, the President named three additional highly-qualified nominees to fill the remaining vacancies – Ms. Millett, Nina Pillard, and Judge Robert Wilkins  Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and his conservative colleagues responded by pushing a bogus bill that would have eliminated those seats, a “mass filibuster” by another name.

In the last month, Senate conservatives filibustered the nominations of Millett, Pillard, and Wilkins, preventing yes-or-no votes on their confirmations.  Just before Thanksgiving, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) again brought Ms. Millett’s nomination to the Senate floor, only to be confronted with yet another filibuster.  This was the last straw.  In response to the cumulative, unprecedented obstruction of the President’s nominees, Majority Leader Reid invoked the “nuclear option” (first threatened by Republicans during the George W. Bush Administration), effectively ending the filibuster for all nominees other than those to the Supreme Court.

Following this long battle, the Senate finally confirmed Ms. Millett this morning, and we hope that confirmation votes for Ms. Pillard and Judge Wilkins will follow soon.

Constitutional Progressives like you made the difference.  Over the last year, you’ve sent more than 40,000 messages to your Senators, asking them to end the obstruction and confirm highly qualified judicial nominees.  You made it clear to your Senators that people at home were paying attention to this issue, and you kept up the pressure even when many other issues competed for Washington’s attention.  With your help, our country in 2014 will enjoy a federal judiciary that’s fairer and more functional.

Thank you, and we hope we can count on your continued support in the new year.