Update (6:14 p.m.): Senators voted 72-16 to confirm Donald Verrilli Jr. as the next U.S. solicitor general. The vote came after senators reached an agreement to avoid a vote on a threatened filibuster, moving directly to a final confirmation vote.
The U.S. Senate is set to vote late today on breaking a potential filibuster of Donald Verrilli Jr.'s nomination for solicitor general.
President Barack Obama nominated Verrilli in January to be the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court. A deputy White House counsel who spent two decades at Jenner & Block, Verrilli would succeed Justice Elena Kagan as the permanent solicitor general. Neal Katyal, who was Kagan’s principal deputy, is serving as acting SG.
The Senate will vote at about 5:30 p.m. on whether to end debate on Verrilli’s nomination, a move that requires 60 votes in favor. If his supporters succeed, a final confirmation vote could come any time in the next several days.
Republicans have succeeded in filibustering some of Obama’s executive branch nominees, including former Bryan Cave partner James Cole for deputy attorney general and former union lawyer Craig Becker for the National Labor Relations Board. Cole and Becker are serving under recess appointments.
Unlike those two, Verrilli has faced little organized opposition, especially after he provided lengthy answers to a series of written questions from senators. On May 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-1 to recommend his confirmation.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who has threatened to block Justice Department nominees until he receives greater cooperation with his requests for information from the department, said before the committee vote that Verrilli has his “tepid support.”