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Unanimous Consent Request--Executive Calendar

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, it is quite curious that my friend the majority leader is complaining about the one area I can think of over the last year and a half where the Senate has met historic norms. In other words, we have handled judicial confirmations in this Congress here in the Senate in a way that meets and in some ways exceeds historic norms. At the same time, of course, we have not done all the other things we have normally done in the past.

So far during this Presidential election year, we have confirmed 5 circuit court nominees and 29 district court nominees. That is a good record for Presidential election years. Let me look at a few. In 1996 we confirmed 18 district court nominees. This year we have confirmed 29. In 2000 we confirmed 31, in 2004 we confirmed 30, and in 2008, the last year of President Bush's tenure, only 24 district court nominees were confirmed. In fact, in 2008 Senate Democrats treated President Bush's nominees so badly that they were forced to confirm--as the majority leader bragged about--10 nominees in September of that year just to try to catch up to historical norms. So rather than bragging about doing 10 on 1 day, the reason they did 10 on 1 day is because they were so pathetically below historic norms they had to do 10 on 1 day so as to not be embarrassed by the process. If they had not done that, the Senate would have confirmed only 14 district court nominees in 2008, which is fewer than half the 29 we have already confirmed this year.

President Obama is also faring much better overall than President Bush did in his second term, which is the last time the Senate considered and confirmed two Supreme Court nominees. The reason I bring that up is because Supreme Court nominees take a lot of time and effort. President Obama, of course, did have two Supreme Court nominees confirmed during his first term.

So far the Senate has confirmed 158 of President Obama's judicial nominees. Compare that to President Bush's second term when the Senate confirmed only 122 of his judicial nominees. President Obama has had 158 confirmed; while President Bush had only 122 confirmed. So the Senate has confirmed one-third more judicial nominees than it did the last time it had to process two Supreme Court nominees.

Not only is President Obama being treated fairly in absolute terms, but the Senate is also treating him fairly relative to the number of nominees he has submitted. So far during President Obama's term, the Senate has confirmed 158 of his 205 nominees. That is a confirmation rate of 77 percent. By contrast, President Bush got only 74 percent of his nominees during his first term.

The contrast is even more revealing when we compare President Obama to President Bush's second term. During that term, President Bush got only 61 percent of his nominees confirmed. Again, President Obama got 77 percent of his nominees confirmed versus President Bush's 61 percent.

Now we are trying to get consent agreements to process the next two district court nominations that are in the queue, and we are hoping that will come about. That is the procedure we have been following. I am hopeful we can achieve that. If we do, we will have confirmed 31 district court nominees this year, which will equal the record for the most district court confirmations in a Presidential election year in recent memory. So whether it is looked at in terms of absolute confirmations or relative confirmations, this President is being treated very fairly.

I am happy to work with the majority leader, but we cannot allow the majority to jam us here at the end of this session; therefore, I object.


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