Senate Reforms Will Allow Majority Rule on Judicial Nominations

The Iowa Fair Courts Coalition Supports Senate Rules Reform Approved Today in the U.S. Senate

Overdue reforms to Senate rules come after years of unprecedented obstruction

Today, the U.S. Senate voted to reform its internal procedures to end the supermajority filibuster and allow simple yes or no votes on most executive and judicial nominees made by the president. This reform came after Senate conservatives waged an unprecedented level of obstruction against President Obama’s judicial and executive nominees. The Iowa Fair Courts Coalition supports this needed reform and Senator Tom Harkin with his vote to put the Senate back to work for the American people.

“The American public is tired of partisan shutdown and the politics of nullification,” said Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director of Iowa Citizen Action Network . “By reforming its internal rules, the Senate will finally return to its constitutional role: advice and consent; not obstruct and delay.”

Donna Red Wing, Executive Director of One Iowa added, “A fully-staffed federal bench matters. We hope that this important reform represents a renewed focus on filling the many vacant seats on our federal courts that make rulings on important issues—from LGBT equality to women’s health to workers’ rights—that matter to all Americans.”

Rules reform came after unprecedented obstruction from Republican Senators, exemplified in the filibusters of all three of President Obama’s current nominees to the vital U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, and Judge Robert Wilkins. Although presidents have a constitutional duty to fill federal judgeships and these nominees had the support of a majority of the Senate, these nominees were blocked because the Republican minority took advantage of internal Senate procedure that required a supermajority of votes. This reform imposes simple majority rule; ensuring that most judicial and executive nominees will be confirmed if a majority of the Senate supports the given nominee.

The Iowa Fair Courts Coalition is a coalition of organizations, businesses, individuals and policy makers who believe that access to fair and impartial courts is a crucial component of a health democracy. Iowa Fair Courts Coalition includes: One Iowa, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Working Families Win, Americans for Democratic Action, Progress Iowa, Iowa Federation of Labor/AFL-CIO, Iowa Association for Justice, Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities, QC Pride, Inc., UNI Proud, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

For more information, visit