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Newsmax: Obama ‘Seizes Control’ of D.C. Circuit

Here’s a great example of dishonest right-wing spin (and yes, there is dishonest left-wing spin as well) from Newsmax, which says that President Obama has “seized control” of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. OMG! Seized control? You mean like sent in armed agents to take it over? Not quite.

In November, Obama effectively gained control of the 11-member court when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered the “nuclear option” — reducing the threshold needed to stop a filibuster from 60 votes to a simple majority.

Within weeks, Obama nominees Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard were confirmed for the court. Wilkins’ confirmation will likely be completed by the Senate no later than February, giving the court its full complement of judges.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said that because the D.C. Circuit dealt with cases related to the Environmental Protection Agency, he had concerns about what nominees had said about the coal and utilities industries that are so important to his state.

But his concerns and Pennsylvania’s won’t matter after the change in filibuster rules, “because the next nominee [to the D.C. Court] won’t need my vote,” Toomey said at a Pennsylvania Society meeting.

Imagine that. As a senator he gets one of 100 votes. If there are more than 50 other senators to vote for any nominee, that nominee “won’t need his vote.” That’s how a majority vote works.

“Of the eight full-time judges on the court before these latest confirmations — not including judges on senior status — there was a 4-4 split between Democratic appointees and Republican appointees,” Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Newsmax.

“Now there are six Democratic appointees and four Republican appointees and there will soon be seven Democrats and only four Republicans.”

Wow, really? You mean there isn’t an exact split between judges appointed by the two parties? Gosh, it’s almost like presidents nominate judges when there’s a vacancy rather than there being some formula that requires absolute parity. I wonder where that process is found? Oh yeah, in the constitution. Imagine that.

At the end of Bush’s time in office, 10 of the 13 judicial circuits were majority Republican. I don’t recall Hans von Spakovsky or any other Republican complaining about that. The party breakdown of appointees hit dead even in November and will now tilt slightly in favor of Democratic appointees with new judges being confirmed. Which is exactly what we would expect after a president has 8 years in office and many judicial vacancies to fill. He didn’t “seize control” of the federal judiciary, he did exactly what the Constitution requires him to do, nominate judges to fill empty seats on the federal bench.

Comments

  1. colnago80 says

    Of course, Dubya didn’t “seize” control of the SOCTUS when he appointed fascist ratfuckkers Roberts and Allto to the court.

  2. busterggi says

    “In November, Obama effectively gained control of the 11-member court when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triggered the “nuclear option” — reducing the threshold needed to stop a filibuster from 60 votes to a simple majority.”

    Don’t I vaguely remember this as being a ‘good thing’ according to the same people when Dubya did it?

  3. Larry says

    Oh noez, The Tyrannies!!!11ty!

    Actually, I think the real issue here is Obama is AJWB: appointing justices while black. Quite the impeachable offense, no?

  4. typecaster says

    Which is exactly what we would expect after a president has 8 years in office

    I think you mis-spelled 5.

  5. John Hinkle says

    But his concerns and Pennsylvania’s won’t matter after the change in filibuster rules, “because the next nominee [to the D.C. Court] won’t need my vote,” Toomey said at a Pennsylvania Society meeting.

    Toomey followed up by saying, “The good news is I can go golfing that day.”

  6. says

    Since when do presidents nominate judges for courts? Never? That’s right. Never. Obama might as well call a press conference where all he does is tear up the Constitution I love so much and also haven’t read.

  7. lofgren says

    This seems like pretty typical descriptive language. For example when one party gets control of Congress from another party we routinely say that they have “seized control.” Honestly, I’m not even sure I would call it “spin.” Likewise it’s not clear that Hans von Spakovsky is saying that the courts should remain 4-4 split. In fact I’m sure he openly believes that all of the judges should be conservatives. He just seems to be describing a situation he doesn’t like that is, in his opinion, getting worse. What would have been appropriate phrasing? It appears to be completely mundane statements of fact. If I didn’t know the guy worked for the Heritage foundation I wouldn’t be able to tell you his affiliation, so how can it be called “spin?”

  8. dan4 says

    @9. “He just seems to be describing a situation he doesn’t like that is, in his opinion, getting worse.” That’s a mildly long-winded way of saying “he’s whining.”

  9. Ichthyic says

    the Constitution I love so much and also haven’t read.

    well, I’m sure the reason you never read is simply because you didn’t want to get fingerprints on such a delicate old document, amirite?

  10. caseloweraz says

    Newsmax headline: Obama Seizes Control of ‘Second Highest Court’

    Sure. That’s why they call Obama “Captain Seize”, amirite?

    (Cue the Doc Savage theme…)

    Related story: “GOP Signals it Will Oppose Nominees to Key Court”

  11. captainahags says

    @Lofgren #9
    I’m no expert, but I think I’d call it spin because there is no “control” to be seized in the first place. AFAIK the DC circuit court is just a collection of judges, not a single body like the supreme court- they don’t all vote at once so it’s not like having more democratic appointees suddenly makes it impossible for the republican appointees to do anything. Plus the idea that Obama will suddenly control the DC circuit by appointing judges who will do his bidding is the product of a paranoid mind. Then again, there’s no shortage of those…

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