Yesterday Senate Republicans successfully stopped President Obama’s attempt at court packing by voting against cloture for the first of three unnecessary judges to the DC Circuit. As has been laid out here and other places multiple times, there is no need for more judges on the DC Circuit. So why is this effort taking place?
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell put it (emphasis ours):
“So if the court’s caseload clearly doesn’t meet their own standards for more judges, why are Senate Democrats pushing to fill more seats on a court that doesn’t need them?
“What’s behind this push to fill seats on a court that is cancelling oral argument days for a lack of cases and which, according to the judges who serve on it, won’t have enough work to go around if we do?
“Well, we don’t have to guess. Our Democratic colleagues and the Administration’s supporters have been fairly candid about it. They have admitted they want to control the court so it will advance the President’s agenda.
“As one Administration ally put it, ‘the president’s best hope for advancing his agenda is through executive action, and that runs through the D. C. Circuit.’
“Let me repeat, the reason they want to put more judges on the D.C. Circuit is not because it needs them, but because ‘the president’s best hope for advancing his agenda is through executive action, and that runs through the D.C. Circuit.’
As Republican Leader McConnell further detailed, this is not some biased Republican or conservative effort. The DC Circuit is evenly divided and rule against President Bush as well.
“Another Administration ally complained that the court ‘has made decisions that have frustrated the president’s agenda.’
“Really? The court is evenly-divided between Republican and Democratic appointees.
“And according to data compiled by the federal courts, the D.C. Circuit has ruled against the Obama Administration in administrative matters less often than it ruled against the Bush Administration.
“So it’s not that the court has been more unfavorable to President Obama than it was to President Bush. Rather, the Administration and its allies seem to be complaining that the court hasn’t been favorable enough to it.
“Evidently, they don’t want any meaningful check on the President. You see, there is one in the House of Representatives, but the Administration can circumvent that with aggressive agency rulemaking. That is, if the D.C. Circuit allows it to do so.
“Mr. President, a court should not be a rubberstamp for any administration. And our Democratic colleagues told us again and again during the Bush Administration that the Senate confirmation process should not be a rubberstamp for any administration either.
On behalf of RNLA and more importantly the rule of law, thank you leader McConnell and your fellow Republican Senators for stopping President Obama’s efforts at court packing.