From the Blog of the Legal Times:
In a rare public appearance, White House Counsel Robert Bauer pleaded today for senators to allow confirmation votes on more of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees.
Bauer, pictured above, spoke at an event organized by the liberal American Constitution Society and echoed what members of both parties have said for years, that the Senate confirmation process is broken. He said the Obama administration wants to move past debates about who’s at fault for delays and find a way to get nominees up-or-down votes.
It seems appropriate for the White House go "move past" questions of "who's at fault" because those questions are boomerangs. He basically could have confirmed almost anyone he wanted in 2009 and 2010. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had the reshaping of several American industries on his mind, as well as his own re-election. Neither he nor Obama made judicial nominations a priority.
Republicans have not necessarily gone out of their way to be cooperative, but they haven't raised any major roadblocks either. Unlike during the judicial wars of the Bush era, not a single judicial nomination at any level failed on the Senate floor in 2009 or 2010 because of cloture -- something that happened repeatedly under George W. Bush. Obama's more controversial nominees simply were never brought up for a vote, and it wasn't for lack of opportunity.
In the case of Robert Chatigny -- Obama's only judicial nominee to have his nomination withdrawn -- it looks like Senate Democrats were protecting themselves from having to cast a politically dangerous vote during an election year.