Harry Reid reads the Arkansas Times; notes Tom Cotton criticism | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Harry Reid reads the Arkansas Times; notes Tom Cotton criticism

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 11:27 AM

click to enlarge CQ ROLL CALL
  • CQ Roll CAll
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid quoted the Arkansas Times  in a floor speech objecting to Sen. Tom Cotton's obstruction of nominations to the federal court of claims, an action that CQ Roll Call has noted has interesting links to the interests of a conservative law firm for which Cotton worked and which has given him campaign cash.

All the more reason, I guess, for Arkansas's junior senator and his staff to continue to refuse to talk to one of the most widely read print outlets in Arkansas. He tends to avoid critics.

Reid put his floor remarks in a news release on a variety of Republican obstructionist tactics, which is just about all Cotton has become known for.

So far this Congress, Republicans have confirmed only 5 judges. By this same point in the last Congress of George W. Bush’s presidency, under my leadership, the Senate had confirmed 25 judges. Republicans are being outpaced 5-to-1. And there are real repercussions when Republicans refuse to act. If there aren’t enough judges to hear the cases that are piling up, a vacant judgeship is declared a judicial emergency. At the beginning of the year, there were only 12 judicial emergencies that deserved priority attention. Yet in the mere 7 months of this Republican-controlled Senate, that number has doubled, and is on its way to tripling. As of today, there are 28 judicial emergencies – including four judges currently pending on the floor.


We saw it on display last week when the junior Senator from Delaware came to the floor and asked consent to confirm five consensus judges to the Court of Federal Claims. It was not a bizarre request. After all, the Judiciary Committee favorably reported these 5 nominees twice – last year under Democrats, and again this year under Republicans. But the junior Senator from Arkansas, a Republican, objected to that request. His reasoning? The Court of Federal Claims doesn’t need those judges.

Perhaps the junior Senator from Arkansas should ask the Chief Judge of the Court of Federal Claims if his Court does not need new judges. The Chief Judge has pleaded for the immediate filling of those 5 vacancies, since they are creating a caseload problem for the Court. But the freshman Senator from Arkansas had his mind made up, and blocked every attempt to confirm even a single judge. One of his home state newspapers, the Arkansas Times headlined its report of the incident: “Tom Cotton Continues his Obstruction Ways.”

Yesterday the Washington press took notice that blocking these judges coincidentally lined up with the interests a powerful conservative law firm that is currently representing clients before the court. A Roll Call headline says: “Cotton Blocks Judges on Court Familiar to His Former Law Firm.” I don’t mean to single out the Senator from Arkansas. After all, he’s just following the Republican leader’s example.

Tom Cotton describes himself as a young man in a hurry. Just not to get anything done in Congress that doesn't suit him.

PS — Document obtained by Judging the Environment indicates Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Judiciary Committee were satisfied that caseload required filling vacancies.

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