Republican lawmakers’ attempts to block the vote on President Obama’s first judicial nomination were thwarted when the Senate voted 70-29 last week to end the filibuster.
U.S. District Judge David Hamilton of Indiana was nominated to fill a vacancy on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but a group of Republicans launched a major offensive against his candidacy.
Hamilton alienated conservatives with his rulings against Christian prayers in the Indiana legislature and against a menorah in the Indiana Municipal Building’s holiday display. He also drew criticism for striking down part of an Indiana law requiring women seeking an abortion to make two trips to a clinic for counseling, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The nominee has also been accused on judicial activism after comments in which he suggested that a judge’s job is to "write a series of footnotes to the Constitution," quoted by CNSNews.com.
However, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the attempt at a filibuster was an example of "more of the partisan, narrow, ideological tactics that Senate Republicans have been engaging in for decades as they try to pack the courts with ultraconservative judges," quoted by the AP.
To end the filibuster the Senate needed 60 votes, but confirmation only requires a simple majority and Hamilton is expected to be elevated to the Chicago-based court.