Cole (pictured above), a partner in the firm's Washington office and former federal prosecutor, won the backing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote in July. He’s been waiting for a confirmation vote to be deputy attorney general ever since, held up in part because of an opinion column he wrote for Legal Times in 2002 advocating the use of civilian courts to try terrorism suspects.
Reid (D-Nev.) said this morning that he wants to vote on Cole’s nomination as one of the Senate’s last pieces of business before it adjourns.
“On nominations, the Republican leader knows the president is very, very concerned about having somebody at the Attorney General’s Office. We need somebody to be second-in-command, the deputy there,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Mr. Cole has been [on the Senate calendar] a long time. There is one senator holding that up. We hope that can be resolved.”
Reid did not identify the senator. Under Senate rules, any one senator can delay a vote on a nominee indefinitely unless 60 senators vote to limit debate.
Reid said he wants to hold a vote after Senate action on several other priorities, including the New START anti-nuclear treaty and a proposed new compensation fund for 9/11 responders.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has repeatedly called for an extended debate on Cole’s nomination, citing both his views on national security and his work as a corporate monitor for American International Group. Republican senators were thwarted in their attempt to review confidential documents related to Cole’s work for AIG.
This month, eight former deputy attorneys general wrote to Senate leaders asking them to hold a confirmation vote for Cole.
National Law Journal photo by Diego M. Radzinschi. Updated at 11:32 a.m. with additional background.