The Republicans are saying that the Second Circuit Court appointments aren't really needed because the D.C. circuit doesn't have enough to do. However, Brad Bannon, democratic political consultant with Bannon Communications Research in Washington, D.C. says that this is an excuse Republicans are using not to have votes on President Obama's appointments to the Second Circuit. The reality is, the Second Circuit has been three judges short for a number of years now, says Bannon.
The Second Circuit is a court where many federal cases originate, Bannon says. It covers the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, where a lot of national security cases originate. Bannon feels the Second Circuit Court is a very important court and has been operating at less than peak capacity for a number of years now.
The reason the Republicans haven't taken a vote on the President's appointments is the Second Circuit Court is often used as a landing pad to the Supreme Court, Bannon says, with several of the current Supreme Court justices having been promoted from there. Republicans are afraid that if the President is to make appointments to this court, some of those might "come back to haunt them if they go back to the Supreme Court," Bannon adds.
It's not a question of whether the Senate has disapproved the appointments, rather that the Republican filibuster hasn't even allowed a vote on the President's appointments, Bannon explains. Republicans can still stop the President's appointees but now they have to do it the "old-fashioned way" by coming up with 51 votes instead of 40.
There are eight judges currently on the Second Circuit Court, four of whom have been appointed by a Republican President and the other four having been appointed by a Democratic President. The Republicans worry that even if one more judge is appointed, that would "the the balance to the Democrats," Bannon says.
Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm. More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com. This video commentary was hosted by The Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content.