Senate Republicans Continue Obstructionist Tactics by Blocking Yet Another D.C. Circuit Nominee

Partisan obstruction prevents Nina Pillard from taking seat on understaffed court


Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5221

Today, all but two Senate Republicans blocked an up-or-down vote on the nomination of Professor Nina Pillard to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. This is the third time Republicans have filibustered one of President Obama’s nominees to the court, where three of eleven seats remain vacant. On Halloween, the nomination of Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit also was blocked.

While Republican senators have argued that the D.C. Circuit’s three vacant seats do not need to be filled, this is incorrect. During the previous administration, Republican senators were unanimous in their support for filling the D.C. Circuit’s ninth, tenth and eleventh seats—the same seats they are blocking now.

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 President Trip Van Noppen:

“Senate Republicans have become a broken record, continuing their obstructionist tactics at any cost. Blocking these judicial nominations is a major disservice to all Americans, who depend on the D.C. Circuit to decide cases that determine whether they will have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Republicans must quit standing in the way of democracy and give each of the President’s three D.C. Circuit nominees a prompt, up-or-down vote.”

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