President Obama will soon name three nominees as a group to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, according to a Democrat briefed on the matter who asked not to be identified, marking a new stage in the partisan battle over judicial nominations.
The decision to push aggressively to fill the three remaining vacancies on one of the nation’s most powerful courts comes after the Senate confirmed Justice Department official Sri Srinivasan to sit on the court last week. The unanimous vote in favor of Srinivasan’s appointment marked the first time since 2006 that the Senate has approved a presidential nominee to the D.C. Circuit.
The plan to fill the vacancies was first reported Monday by the New York Times.
The court holds enormous sway because it rules on a range of domestic policies, from curbing greenhouse gases linked to climate change to providing warning labels for cigarettes. Republicans have suggested shrinking the number of seats on the court from 11 to eight as a way of limiting Obama’s power.