Obama Nominates Three|for the D.C. Circuit

     WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama on Tuesday nominated three attorneys to vacant seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, for the first time directly challenging Republicans who have refused to schedule votes for his judicial nominations.
     The president nominated Patricia Millet, Nina Pillard and Robert Wilkins for vacancies on what is often called the nation’s second most-important court.
     The president on Tuesday finally called out Republicans who have refused to fill judicial vacancies for years.
     “This is not about principled opposition,” Obama said in the Rose Garden Tuesday morning. “This is about political obstruction.
     Eighty-one federal judgeships are vacant: 65 in U.S. District Courts and 16 on federal appeals courts. Republicans for years have refused to call votes on Obama’s judicial nominations and the president has not made an issue of it, until Tuesday.
     In response, Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican who is his party’s senior member of the Senate Judiciary, accused the president of “packing the D.C. Circuit.”
     Millet worked in the Solicitor General’s Office for 11 years, under Democratic and Republican presidents.
     Pillard, a Georgetown law professor, has had two jobs for the Department of Justice and was an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She successfully defended the Family and Medical Leave Act before the U.S. Supreme Court.
     Obama nominated Wilkins to D.C. District bench in 2010 and the Senate confirmed him without opposition. He spent 10 years as a public defender in Washington, D.C.
     The White House posted the president’s remarks on its website.

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