Today, the United States Senate confirmed Cornelia T.L. Pillard, a law professor and former public-interest attorney, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Professor Pillard is the second of President Obama’s D.C. Circuit nominees to be confirmed this week, the result of a new Senate rule allowing most nominations to move forward with a simple majority vote. In the weeks preceding the Senate’s November 21 rules change, a minority of the chamber’s members blocked up-or-down votes on three D.C. Circuit nominees—Patricia Millett, who was confirmed on December 10; Pillard, who was confirmed today; and District Judge Robert L. Wilkins, who is next in line for an up-or-down vote.
The D.C. Circuit is second only to the United States Supreme Court in its environmental importance, often determining whether Americans across the country have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a healthy environment to leave for their children.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice Legislative Counsel Sean Helle:
“We congratulate Professor Pillard on her confirmation, and thank her for taking on such a critical job.”
“With today’s vote, the Senate has demonstrated a renewed ability to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. For too long, our nation’s second-highest court has been compromised by vacancies. With the confirmation of Nina Pillard, only one of the D.C. Circuit’s eleven seats remains to be filled. We commend Senator Reid for his leadership in ending the obstruction of recent years. And we look forward to Judge Wilkins’ vote.”