The Senate confirmed United States District Judge Robert Wilkins to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday with a vote of 55-43. Wilkins has worked as both a public defender and a private attorney and has served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 2011.
“In 2010, I nominated Judge Wilkins to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and since being confirmed without opposition by the Senate to that position, he has applied the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity,” President Obama said in a statement. “I am confident that he will continue to do so on the D.C. Circuit.”
This was the second attempt to have Wilkins confirmed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after Senate Republicans blocked his nomination two months ago. After Republican blocked several other qualified women nominees as well, Senate Democrats, led by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), moved to change the rules. The Senate voted 52-48 in November to change the filibuster rules to require a simple majority – rather than 60 votes – to end debate on presidential nominees to the executive branch and the federal bench, with the exception of nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, making it harder for Republicans to block qualified nominees for political gain.
Wilkins is now the fourth confirmed nominee of Obama’s to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the second most powerful court in the nation after the Supreme Court. Obama says the court now has a “full bench to render justice fairly and swiftly.”
Media Resources: The White House Office of the Press Secretary 1/13/14; Reuters 1/13/14; Feminist Newswire 11/12/13, 11/21/13, 12/12/13