Thursday, November 21, 2013

End to filibusters for federal-judge nominees boosts prospects for greenhouse-gas regulations

Today's vote by Senate Democrats to eliminate filibusters for presidential appointments, except Supreme Court justices, has important implications for President Obama's plan to regulate greenhouse gases. That's because the regulatory effort will have to pass muster with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, which "rules on decisions made by federal administrative agencies," Brad Plumer writes for The Washington Post.

The court is three short of its authorized 11 judges. Four judges each were appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents, but "any overflow in caseloads tends to get handled by six 'senior' judges who work part time," Plumer notes. "Five of those senior judges were appointed by Republicans." (Read more)

Why did this happen? The Post's Ezra Klein Writes, "The way Senate Democrats saw it was that if they weren't going to get immigration reform or gun control or jobs bills or anything big that they cared about, then at least they would get their judicial and executive-branch nominations. . . . Today, the political system changed its rules to work more smoothly in an age of sharply polarized parties. If American politics is to avoid collapsing into complete dysfunction in the years to come, more changes like this one will likely be needed." (Read more)

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