Thursday, December 12, 2013

Post-nuclear Senate update: Pillard confirmed; more confirmations on the way

In a majority rule Senate, apparently a bit of Chai is enough to keep everyone working all night.

The "Chai" in question just happens to be Chai Rachel Feldblum, President Obama's long-stalled nominee for reappointment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

As I write this, she's not stalled any more.

On Wednesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked for unanimous consent  to waive the post-cloture debate time on District Cornelia Pillard's nomination (which would have expired at 1 a.m. today) and invoke cloture on Feldblum, with confirmation votes to follow early this morning. As a result, every one could go home and get some sleep.

Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley objected.

So Reid kept the Senate in session all night.

This appears to be the equivalent of assigning Senate Republicans an eight-hour detention.

 Democrats confirmed Pillard at 1 a.m. by a vote of 51-44 and invoked cloture on Feldblum, 57-39.

After Feldblum gets confirmed for the EEOC this morning, the next up are four district court judges for the districts of Western New York, New Hampshire, and Montana (which has two vacancies). The appointments for New York and Montana will fill three judicial emergencies.

For those keeping score at home, that's two Circuit-Court judges, one chair of the Federal Housing Administration and one EEOC member. Incidentally, that's also three more well-qualified women and one more well-qualified African American in powerful positions in federal government. But who's counting?

This majority rule thing is kind of refreshing.

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