As expected, the Senate voted largely along party lines, 53 to 38, to end debate on the nomination of Robert L. Wilkins, currently a U.S. district judge, falling short of the 60 votes needed to proceed to a confirmation vote.
Last week, in a similar vote, Republicans blocked the nomination of Cornelia "Nina" Pillard, a Georgetown law professor. Patricia Millett, a Washington attorney who worked in the Office of the Solicitor General, was blocked on Oct. 31.
Caitlin Joan Halligan, another Obama nominee, withdrew from consideration in March after Republicans voted against her nomination for a second time.
Senate Majority Leader
"Republicans have blocked these nominees solely to deny President Obama his constitutional right to appoint judges," Reid said, calling it a violation of an earlier bipartisan agreement to only block nominations in "extraordinary circumstances."
"No senator has questioned the character, ethics or qualifications of the three women that have already been rejected for the D.C. Circuit," he said. "No one has questioned the character, ethics or qualifications of Judge Wilkins."
In May the Senate confirmed
Obama named Wilkins, Pillard and Millett for the three remaining open seats in June, leading Republicans to accuse him attempting to appoint more liberals to a panel that is currently evenly divided between Democratic and Republican appointees.
Republicans accused Democrats of having used similar tactics to deny President
“There is no crisis on the D.C. Circuit, because they don’t have enough work to do as it is,” said Sen.