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Senate Poised to Vote on D.C. Circuit Nominees

By Brett Snider, Esq. on October 29, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Senate is preparing to vote on three nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, with an anticipated fight between Democrats and Republicans over their confirmations.

According to The Huffington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a cloture motion on Monday, setting the Senate to vote on Patricia Millet's confirmation by the beginning of November.

Where does each of the three nominees stand?

Patricia Millet

An anonymous Senate Democratic aide told HuffPo that the White House and Senate Democrats are ready for "a big fight" over the D.C. Circuit, especially in the shadow of a potential Republican filibuster.

The first to be pushed into said fight seems to be nominee Patricia Millet, who passed the Senate judiciary committee in early August and maybe be confirmed as early as the end of October. While Millet's confirmation vote was essentially on hold during the beginning of October, her upcoming confirmation seems less fraught than the other female nominee, Nina Pillard.

Nina Pillard

During a long September -- one with barely any court opinions from the D.C. Circuit -- Nina Pillard was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee after a major grilling by Senate Republicans.

She now faces an upcoming, but as yet unscheduled, vote in front of the full Senate, during which Senator Grassley and the full host of Senate Republicans will descend on her for her "radical feminist" views.

While much has been made about Pillard's views on birth control or reproductive rights, her track record on civil rights is pretty sterling -- she represented students in the Virginia Military Institute case.

According to RH Reality Check's Jessica Pieklo, she also stands the greatest chance of Democrats offering to sacrifice her nomination to save the other two if Republicans threaten a filibuster.

Robert Wilkins

HuffPo reports that Wilkins, who has not yet been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, will be up for committee vote on Thursday. The odds are good that he'll pass through committee to a full Senate vote, given that he was given a rather soft committee hearing in mid-September.

With the government shutdown finally over, the next few weeks should give the Senate's members a chance to actually earn their salaries by examining these nominees.

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