The Latest Republican huff over a recess appointment.

Is there anything about this particular recess appointment that is very very different than other recess appointments other than the fact that it denies the Republicans to try and have the health care debate all over again?

Meh…usual Republican bluster and grandstanding.

If they want to exercise their power to consent to nominees then they need to have the actual hearings and vote on people. If they play the perpetual obstructionist (as they have been to a degree never before seen) then tough…Obama will use the recess appointment.

Not as if other presidents haven’t used it. Happens often enough with all of them whatever stripe they may be. Generally not a really big deal.

Whichever party isn’t in power always bitches about it, to wit:

Looks like Bush did it 171 times, Obama’s up to number 15. BFD.

An honest question here:

I know that you are using this as a vehicle to take a shot at the GOP, SOP, but is there actual evidence that the Republicans have somehow obstructed this nomination? If so, how, specifically? Have they filibustered it? If not, since there are more Dems in both the Senate and on that committee, what have the Republicans done?

This blog entry speaks to “Republican obstruction bypassed”, but then just goes into why an honest discussion of his candidacy would have been used to whip up fervor against ObamaCare. To me, this obviously isn’t obstruction - it’s debate over the role of CMS, and the biggest program to be passed in the last 20 years.

Well, there are things like this:

Or this:

Sure both sides of the aisle have done and will continue to do this. Seems to me republicans do it considerably more however.

EDIT of my above post: I did not answer the question with what I had written.

Near as I can tell in this case Obama sidestepped Congress as the Republicans probably wanted this nomination process to be on TV.

Hard for me to get fussed about it though. What Obama did is legal and given overt obstruction practically everywhere else hard for me to worry about this one.

This is a claim I’d like to see a cite for.

At least one Dem, Max Baucus, is also pissed about sidestepping the Senate.

Although both sides always criticize recess appointments, Berwick has not been vetted by the finance panel. They had not even scheduled a hearing on Berwick yet. Now, that being said, I don’t know if this differs from past recess appointments. The ones I remember did have hearings but were blocked by the senate.

My cite is in post #5.

I cannot find pure stats on this (my Google-fu is failing me) but between Clinton and Bush at least seemed a lot more of Clinton’s nominations were blocked. I can’t imagine things have improved with Obama (and I noted one senator single-handedly blocked 70 Obama nominations in one go for awhile).

The reason I asked for a cite was to explore the comment - now made twice - that more of Clinton’s were blocked; in other words, that while both sides do it, Republicans are the more egregious offenders. Perhaps I’m missing it, but nothing in post #5 addresses that.

*President Bush has had 57 nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals. Five never received hearings. Of the 52 who did, 42 have been confirmed, but 10 were blocked by Democrats’ use of the filibuster to prevent a floor vote. Three of these nominees subsequently withdrew from consideration, but seven others have returned for renomination in the current Congress.

With respect to judicial nominations, the most effective tactic in opposition has been to bottle them up in committee. In the later years of the Clinton presidency, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was controlled by Republicans, did not hold hearings for as many as 60 of his nominees, according to Democrats."*

So, 10 Bush nominees were held back and 60 Clinton nominees were blocked. That may not tell the whole story as there are other nominations besides judges but it is certainly suggestive and based on that, if I were a betting man, I would bet the republicans do block more often than democrats.

I am still looking for hard numbers but cannot find any so far.

Well, here’s some info from Wikipedia:

The difference with the this one is that normally recess appointment happen because the opposition in congress refuses to hold hearings on the appointment. This one happened because the opposition in congress was too eager to have hearings and the nominee would have had to answer some inconvenient questions.

I think you hit the nail on the head!

But those sixty nominees under Clinton aren’t named – the source for that number is “according to Democrats.”

Here is a list of every blocked Bush federal appeals court nominee:

[li]First Circuit (1) - Rhode Island seat formerly Bruce Selya - William E. Smith[/li][li]Second Circuit (1)- New York seat formerly Chester Straub - Loretta Preska [/li][li]Third Circuit - (3) New Jersey seat formerly Samuel Alito - Shalom D. Stone [/li][li]Third Circuit - Pennsylvania seat formerly Franklin Van Antwerpen - Gene Pratter, then Paul Diamond [/li][li]Fourth Circuit - (8) Maryland seat formerly Francis Murnaghan Jr. - Claude Allen, then Rod Rosenstein[/li][li]Fourth Circuit - North Carolina seat formerly James Phillips Jr. - Terrence Boyle, then Robert J. Conrad[/li][li]Fourth Circuit - South Carolina seat formerly William Wilkins - Steve Matthews[/li][li]Fourth Circuit - Virginia seat formerly H. Emory Widener - William J. Haynes, II, then E. Duncan Getchell, then Glen E. Conrad [/li][li]Fifth Circuit (3 or 4) - Mississippi seat, converted from a Louisiana seat held by Henry Politz - Charles W. Pickering, then Michael B. Wallace, then Leslie H. Southwick [/li][li]Fifth Circuit - Texas seat formerly William Garwood - Priscilla Owen*[/li][li]Sixth Circuit (5 or 7) - Michigan seat formerly James Ryan - Henry Saad[/li][li]Sixth Circuit - Michigan seat formerly Richard Suhrheinrich - David W. McKeague*[/li][li]Sixth Circuit - Michigan seat formerly Damon Keith - Richard Griffin*[/li][li]Sixth Circuit - Michigan seat formerly Cornelia Kennedy - Susan Bieke Neilson, then Stephen J. Murphy III[/li][li]Sixth Circuit - Ohio seat formerly David Nelson - Jeffrey Sutton [/li][li]Sixth Circuit - Ohio seat formerly Alan Norris - Deborah Cook[/li][li]Seventh Circuit (1) - Indiana seat formerly Kenneth Ripple - Philip Simon [/li][li]Ninth Circuit (3) - California seat formerly James Browning - Carolyn Kuhl [/li][li]Ninth Circuit - California seat formerly Stephen Trott - Randy Smith [/li][li]Ninth Circuit - Idaho seat formerly Thomas Nelson - William Myers III [/li][li]Tenth Circuit (2) - Oklahoma seat formerly Stephanie Seymour - James Payne, then Jerome Holmes [/li][li]Eleventh Circuit (1 or 2) - Alabama seat formerly Emmett Cox - William Steele, then William Pryor*[/li][li]DC Circuit (3 or 5) - seat formerly of Patricia Wald - Miguel Estrada [/li][li]DC Circuit - seat formerly James Buckley - John Roberts [/li][li]DC Circuit - seat formerly Stephen Williams - Janice Rogers Brown*[/li][li]DC Circuit - seat formerly Laurence Silberman - Brett Kavanaugh*[/li][li]DC Circuit - seat formerly John Roberts - Pete Keisler[/li][/ul]

The asterisk represents a judge confirmed under the “Gang of 14” compromise. In my view, it’s fair to count them, since the Democrats blocked them, but I agree the case can be made not not counting them, so I have broken them out.

Still, that’s 31 names, 31 verifiable cases of blocked appeals court nominees by Democrats under Clinton. If you add in the ones the Democrats “agreed to” under the Gang of 14 deal, that’s 6 more, for a total of 37.

So – there’s my cite and my argument. Find me the actual names that were supposedly blocked under Clinton, and then let’s see where we stand.

Well, I found these numbers (in a chart I cannot easily copy here).


  1. Yes, I am aware the source is biased. That said I presume the numbers are accurate. Best I could find so far.

  2. Only deals with judicial nominations and not cabinet positions.

  3. Not quite clear what the two different charts are telling us.

Anyway, it looks like Bush the Elder may have more blocked than Clinton. Clinton is well below Reagan and Bush the Younger. Averaged among all of them (Republicans and Democrats) and it is clear Reps block these things more than Dems.

I’m looking for the list and note you are restricting this to the Appeals court (why I do not know). Why not all judicial nominations?

As backup in the meantime perhaps you will accept a cite with multiple cites in it:

It seems likely you already know the answer, since you are limiting it to appellate court nominations. The names are:

That is 23 people blocked for 20 posts. There were an additional 45 blocked for 42 district courts. The corresponding count for Bush Jr. was 23 judges blocked for 23 district court seats. to go along with the 31/37 you mentioned for appeals courts.

I particularly like that Elena Kagan was blocked for that DC seat, only for Bush to fill it by John Roberts. Now they can sit next to each other. :slight_smile:


Yeah, I know, bad bad Wiki cite.

You want a cite for Whack-a-Mole’s opinion? :eek:

Here you go.

(One of the few instances where “my post is my cite” is a valid response – presuming Whack-a-Mole is being honest about his opinion, of course.

I think so too… and it is very likely to be ignored by the usuals here.

Are there any other examples of a recess appointment being made before the opposition made any effort to obstruct?