This vote was on the confirmation of Paul J. Watford’s appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
President Obama nominated Watford for appointment to the court in October 2011, but a vote on his confirmation was delayed as part of a larger disagreement over nominations between Senate Republicans and the White House. While Senate Republicans were in the minority, they had enough members to use Senate rules to delay nominations indefinitely, and they had used this power to block many of President Obama’s nominations.
Supporters of Watford’s confirmation argued that he had “impeccable” legal credentials and would be a model judge.
“Paul Watford is the kind of person we want in our federal judiciary. This is the kind of person when we talk about the federal courts, we can say here is a judge we can look up to and who can inspire others who seek to be judges,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said.
Opponents of Watford’s confirmation cited his views on immigration and the death penalty. They cited speeches Watford had given and legal briefs he filed in opposition to a controversial method of execution in Kentucky and an Arizona law that cracked down on illegal immigrants.
“I am generally willing to give the president's nominees the benefit of the doubt when the nominee on the surface meets the requirements I have previously outlined. But I don't think this nominee meets these requirements,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said.
The Senate confirmed Paul J. Watford’s appointment by a vote of 61-34. Voting “yea” were 52 Democrats and 9 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 34 Republicans. As a result, the Senate confirmed Watford’s appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.