U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton yesterday blocked efforts to fill five vacancies on the federal Court of Claims,
Cotton said the court didn’t need more judges and had a declining caseload. Sen. Chris Coons, seeking the confirmation of appointees, said the court had a more complex caseload.
Cotton wouldn’t allow confirmation of a single judge, even after Coons spoke in some detail about their qualifications and the need.
Glenn Sugameli who follows the federal judiciary for the Judging the Environment project, said Cotton ignored Judiciary Committee approval of all five nominees in 2014 and 2015 and letters from the chief judge of the court and Claims Bar Association presidents on the caseload.
“There is no reason for the long delayed Floor votes on the five unopposed nominees and every reason to vote now after the Chief Judge and five past presidents of the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association urged prompt action to help with major caseload problems from lack of five judges on the 16 judge court. Justice delayed from lack of judges is justice denied.”
Tom Cotton doesn’t need justice. He needs to get his way. It is a pattern of a young man in a hurry for higher power. It might not build collegiality, but there’s little of that remaining in the polarized Congress anyway. Cotton fits right in. He just doesn’t play well with others.
For background, Sugameli notes that during the Bush administration, the Senate confirmed nine judges to the Court of Federal Claims, while only three have been confirmed during the Obama administration. During two rounds of Judicial Committee hearings on this group, no Republican expressed the “concerns” Cotton used yesterday to block the vote.