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3 more blocked: Senate judicial filibuster count reaches 10

WASHINGTON (BP)–Senate Democrats blocked three more of President Bush’s judicial nominees from receiving an up-or-down vote July 22, bringing to 10 the number of judges who have been filibustered.

All three received enough votes for confirmation but fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

The July 22 filibuster, which involved three judges from Michigan appointed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, was in part a retaliation for how Republicans treated some of President Clinton’s nominees, Democrats said.

Democrats charge that Republicans have not followed Senate tradition that allowed a judge’s home state senators to have a say in the process.

Michigan’s two senators, Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, opposed the three nominations.

Republicans said that Democrats had the process backwards.

“Let’s get back to first principles,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., said, according to The Washington Times. “Democrat senators do not get to pick circuit court judges in Republican administrations. In fact, Republican senators — myself included — do not get to pick circuit court judges in Republican administrations.”

President Bush also criticized the filibusters, calling them “unfair.”

“These filibuster tactics are shameful and inconsistent with the Senate’s constitutional obligation,” Bush said in a statement. “… Prior to this Congress, the filibuster had never been used to block the confirmation of a judicial nominee. But in recent months, the use of this obstructionist tactic by some Democrats has become commonplace.”

The three nominees blocked were Richard A. Griffin, Henry W. Saad and David W. McKeague. The votes were 54-44 for Griffin, 53-44 for McKeague and 52-46 for Saad.

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