California is one step closer to getting a new federal judge. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of L.A. County Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell to the federal bench. But there could still be a wait before her nomination is brought up for a full vote.
O’Connell was nominated last November by President Obama to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge. She sailed through her confirmation hearing and now has been approved by the Judiciary Committee. But it could be a while before O’Connell takes her seat on the bench.
University of Richmond Law Professor Carl Tobias says, in the past, consensus nominees were bundled together for a floor vote. That's no linger the case.
"What’s different is — in the Obama administration — Republicans are saying, ‘No, you have to take them one at a time,’" Tobias says. "And so that has really led to this backlog"
There are currently 90 federal judicial vacancies around the country. Since Congress returned to work in January, only one nominee has come up for a vote before the full Senate.