Senate Confirms Robert Wilkins, Completes Revamp of US Appeals Court for DC

With one of President Barack Obama’s key judicial picks recently confirmed, the court is now headed by Democratic-appointed judges.

President Barack Obama nominating Cornelia T.L. Pillard (second from left), Patricia Ann Millett (right) and Robert L. Wilkins to become federal judges in June 2013

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The majority of judges seated on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit are now Democratic-appointed, a deal that was sealed on Monday when the Senate confirmed one of President Barack Obama’s key judicial nominees, the Associated Press reports.

Robert Wilkins, who had been trapped in a nomination deadlock in the divided Senate since last year, was finally confirmed, giving Democratic appointees a 7-4 majority in the powerful court, which is seen as second only to the Supreme Court in terms of influence.

Wilkins’ confirmation was a breeze this time, thanks to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to go “nuclear” and weaken the power of the filibuster—thus allowing picks to sweep through the confirmation with a simple majority vote.

Obama was pleased with the confirmation, praising Wilkins for his impartiality and integrity.

"He has applied the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity," Obama said in a statement, according to the AP. "I am confident that he will continue to do so on the D.C. Circuit."

The confirmation is only the latest in a series of D.C. Circuit appointments, with the Senate recently confirming two other Obama picks, Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard, to the same court.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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