Green groups might be the biggest winners from Senate Democrats’ decision to gut the minority party’s filibuster rights on nominations.
Their top priority — President Obama’s second-term regulations on climate change — is likely to have a better shot at surviving legal challenges once Obama’s nominees are confirmed for the crucial U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Melinda Pierce, a policy expert for the Sierra Club, said the addition of Obama’s three nominees would be an “improvement” to the D.C. Circuit, which is second only to the Supreme Court in influence and power.
“But filling up all 11 seats, a full panel is an improvement to the current situation in the court,” Pierce said. “And we hope these additions will ensure that the climate regulations are upheld.”
Pierce also defended the three nominees — Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Nina Pillard — saying they “are by no means activists.”
The decision by Senate Democrats to end the filibuster on judicial and administration nominees was decried by Republicans, who described it as a “power grab” aimed at loosening the checks on presidential power.
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