Sen. Grassley: Fight Against Obama Judge Nominations Not Political

Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 06:02 PM

By Greg Richter

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Sen. Chuck Grassley says his fight against confirming judicial nominees to the District of Columbia circuit court is not ideological but practical.

There are too many judges on the D.C. appeals court, Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Currently, there are 11 slots on the court, with eight of them filled, four of whom were nominated by Republican presidents and four by Democrats. Obama's nominations would give Democrats considerably more pull in the nation's second-most powerful appellate district.

Republicans on Monday blocked Obama's fourth nominee to the court. The president has complained about the lack of action on his nominees.

Story continues below video.

But whatever the motivations of other Republican senators, Grassley says he has crusaded since the 1990s to bring better balance to the courts and that's all he's doing now. He previously fought President George W. Bush to keep off a nominee, he noted.

Grassley, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, currently has a bill that would cut the three open positions and move two of them to other districts that need them.

He said the D.C. district's caseload is only half the average of the other 11 districts, and that some of the judges have written letters saying that if more judges are appointed to the court there will be too few cases for each to handle.

Grassley said 208 of Obama's nominees have been confirmed, with only four blocked.

"There are 65 vacancies that he hasn't even sent names up to the Hill for us to confirm, and under our Constitution we can't confirm judges until he nominates them," Grassley said. "So, he better get on the ball and nominate judges to these courts if he wants us to act faster."

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