What a coincidence!

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy will host a panel of experts at noon next Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to discuss the growing use of the filibuster to slow or halt judicial confirmations. The news release says:

Although the filibuster has been used to scuttle an array of legislation and presidential nominations, its use to hinder judicial nominations has become pronounced. As of January 5, only thirteen judges have been confirmed by Congress. During the same period in President George W. Bush’s administration, 28 judges were confirmed. The panel of experts will examine the effect that the increased use of the filibuster has on the quality and efficiency of the federal bench and what efforts are underway in the Senate and White House to address stalled judicial confirmations.

But what could’ve been a dry, political discussion takes on new meaning and vitality when one recalls that the chairman of the American Constitution Society’s board of directors is University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall Law School Associate Dean and Professor Goodwin Liu – whom President Barack Obama nominated last week to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and for whom Senate Republicans are now sharpening their knives.

Watch for my story about Liu in this Sunday’s or Monday’s print editions.

This panel’s moderator will be Sarah Binder, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Participants include Makan Delrahim, shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP and former Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Martin Paone, Executive Vice President of Prime Policy Group and former Democratic Secretary in the U.S. Senate; and Matthew Yglesias, noted blogger and fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Curious language for legal “scholars” to use. The filibuster is a Senate privilege or weapon, depending on one’s point of view, and is outside the purview of the courts. Reasons for blocking judicial appointments vary and both parties have sometimes blundered in judging nominations.