Ken Starr (!) Pleads With Senate GOPers to Confirm Obama Nominee

<a href="http://www.oyez.org/advocates/s/s/sri_srinivasan">Oyez.org</a>

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


How many former Republican solicitors general does it take to prevent a filibuster?

Almost a year ago, President Barack Obama nominated Caitlin Hannigan and Sri Srinivasan to be judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, a key court that has jurisdiction over federal regulations and is often seen as a stepping-stone to the US Supreme Court. Four of the 11 seats on the court are currently vacant, but Senate Republicans have refused to confirm any of Obama’s nominees, leaving the court dominated by conservatives eager to toss out federal regulations dealing with everything from air pollution to financial reform. Last month Halligan withdrew her nomination after Republicans filibustered her into oblivion.

That leaves Srinivasan, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is the Obama administration’s principal deputy solicitor general and argued before the Supreme Court in the Defense of Marriage Act case. There are things liberals will like about Srinivasan (he wrote Supreme Court briefs supporting affirmative action and arguing cops should need a warrant to put a GPS on your car) and things they won’t (he’s represented corporate and anti-union interests). His nomination has gone untouched since June 2012, but next Wednesday the Senate will be holding a confirmation hearing. Monday a bipartisan group of former solicitors general sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urging his confirmation. The list includes former Bush administration solicitors general Paul Clement and Theodore Olson, as well as former George H.W. Bush Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, who as special counsel investigated the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“Sri is one of the best lawyers in the country,” the letter reads. “He is extremely well prepared to take on the intellectual rigors of serving as a judge on the DC Circuit.” 

There are more vacancies on the federal bench today than when Obama took office. The Obama administration hasn’t put forth enough nominations to fill them all, but the chief impediment is that Republicans have slowed the judicial confirmation process to a crawl. The average Bush circuit or district court nominee waited 175 days for a vote, compared to 227 under Obama.

Srinivasan exemplifies this dysfunction. He clerked for a Reagan-appointed Supreme Court justice; he worked for Republican and Democratic administrations, and he’s endorsed by the guy who helped the GOP almost bring down Bill Clinton. Yet thanks to GOP obstruction—and the Democrats’ refusal to reform the filibuster—he still might not get confirmed.

Here’s the letter:

 

An earlier version of this post stated that Starr was solicitor general under Reagan, he was solicitor general under George H.W. Bush.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate