Senate Republicans on Monday blocked the third of President Obama's judicial nominees in as many weeks, driving the Senate closer to another partisan confrontation over the filibuster, reports Politico. By a vote of 38 to 53, Democrats fell seven votes short of the 60 needed to approve Robert Wilkins's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court. Wilkins joins Nina Pillard and Patricia Millett as having been rejected by Republicans who argue that the court's workload doesn't justify three more members.
It may take weeks to get there, but the latest GOP tactic essentially guarantees the Senate will soon endure another draining fight over changing the chamber's rules by a simple majority by invoking what is called the “nuclear option.” Democratic frustration has built steadily over the GOP's use of the filibuster to stifle Obama from filling out the court, which is seen by the legal community as the second-most powerful in the country. After the vote, Obama railed against the Senate Republicans who “have once again refused to do their job.”