U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today he still wants to confirm more judicial nominees before adjourning for the year, but he gave no hints about what an agreement might look like.
Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been negotiating on and off for months, aides to both senators have said. The Senate has not confirmed any of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees since September, and there are 38 who are awaiting confirmation votes.
In comments to reporters this afternoon, Reid included nominations in a list of things he wants to accomplish in the next few weeks. The list also includes the New START treaty with Russia, funding for the federal government through September and a new compensation program for 9/11 responders.
Most of the 38 nominees face little or no opposition, but Republican senators are hoping to block four who they say are unqualified or hold extreme views. The four are Goodwin Liu for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and three district court nominees: Louis Butler Jr. for the Western District of Wisconsin, Edward Chen for the Northern District of California and John McConnell Jr. for the District of Rhode Island.
Republicans have objected to scheduling votes on those four, meaning that if Democrats want to force a vote on any of them, they will need to use days of scarce time on the Senate floor.
Also awaiting confirmation votes are several nominees for the executive branch, including Bryan Cave partner James Cole for deputy attorney general.
Updated at 3:32 p.m. with additional background.