The Senate will vote on the nomination of Robert Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit next week, when he is expected to be blocked by Republicans who say the key appeals court doesn't need any more judges.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today filed cloture on Wilkins' nomination, meaning he will need 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. Wilkins, now a judge Washington’s federal district court, would get an up-or-down confirmation vote, which only requires a majority, if his nomination advances.
Republicans thwarted in a similar way the nominations of two other D.C. Circuit nominees—first, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld partner Patricia Millett on Oct. 31, then Georgetown law professor Cornelia "Nina" Pillard on Nov. 12.
At a press conference after the Pillard vote, Democrats said they expect Wilkins will get the same treatment. The move would further deepen the stalemate over President Obama's picks for the D.C Circuit, and move the Senate closer to a possible showdown on changing longstanding Senate rules on filibusters.
In filing cloture today, Reid did not set a specific time for Wilkins' vote or make any comments about the D.C. Circuit roadblocks.