Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has said that he will suspend his policy of automatically voting ‘no’ for the President’s judicial nominations, at least until the President again makes appointments during a congressional recess. According to a Blog of Legal Times piece, Senator Lee decided to protest the Administration’s January recess appointments by voting ‘no’ on every judicial nominee the President put before the Senate, even a nominee from Lee’s own state whose nomination he had supported. Instead, the Senator has decided that the Thurmond Rule, whereby Senate Republicans slow the confirmation process for circuit court nominees at the end of a president’s term, will suffice for the time being.
Perhaps Senator Lee’s move is a clear signal that the Republican leadership in the Senate is ready to engage in productive confirmation proceedings for judicial nominees. In any case, the drama that continues to unfold around the President’s nominations to the federal bench is an interesting one to watch, which is exactly what law clerk applicants should be doing.