The Senate is poised to confirm Robert L. Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — the final battle in a bruising war between the White House and Senate Republicans over the “second highest court in the land.”
The D.C. Circuit deals with cases against the federal government. Anyone who has a complaint with a regulatory agency or wants to challenge an excess of the federal government usually winds up there.
“We will fill up the D.C. Circuit one way or another,” Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said in a speech March 10, in which he attacked Republican-led filibusters against President Barack Obama’s nominees as “specious.”
In November, Obama effectively gained control of the 11-member court when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered the “nuclear option” — reducing the threshold needed to stop a filibuster from 60 votes to a simple majority.
Within weeks, Obama nominees Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard were confirmed for the court. Wilkins’ confirmation will likely be completed by the Senate no later than February, giving the court its full complement of judges.