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Obama Taps 3 for D.C. Appeals Court Vacancies

President Obama today nominated a federal judge, a university law professor and an appeals court attorney to fill three vacancies on the 11-seat U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka applauded the nominations and urged the U.S. Senate “to move expeditiously to confirm these nominees.” In a statement, he said:

The D.C. Circuit is extremely important to working families. The court hears more significant labor-related cases—workplace safety cases, wage and hour cases, unfair labor practice cases and other regulatory cases— than any other Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a statement announcing the nominations, Obama said:

These three individuals are highly qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit. They have broad bipartisan support from across the legal community. The nonpartisan American Bar Association has given them—each of them—its highest rating….These are incredibly accomplished lawyers by all accounts....There's no reason, aside from politics, for Republicans to block these individuals from getting an up or down vote.

Trumka pointed out the District of Columbia Circuit’s rulings can have “sweeping and dramatic” impacts on working families, such as the court’s recent decision on President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board:

A decision that calls into question decades of tradition and hundreds of appointments by presidents of both parties and that has created chaos and hardship for working people in the enforcement of their rights under our labor law.

The nominees are Cornelia Pillard, a Georgetown University law professor; Patricia Ann Millett, an appeals lawyer; and Robert Leon Wilkins, a judge on the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The Republican minority in the Senate has blocked many of Obama’s judicial and other nominees, including successfully filibustering an earlier nominee to the District of Columbia Circuit. Yesterday, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen urged Democratic lawmakers to establish new Senate rules to guarantee debate and an up or down vote on nominees.

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