Judicial Watch v. The United States Senate
Judicial Watch devised a creative legal strategy to challenge the use of the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule to block confirmation of President George W. Bush’s appellate court nominees. Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in federal court in the District of Columbia seeking to have the filibuster rule declared unconstitutional because it effectively requires a supermajority of 60 votes to confirm a judicial nominee. Judicial Watch argued that it was in a unique position to bring suit because, except for the federal government, it is among the most frequent litigants in the federal courts in the District of Columbia.Judicial Watch asserted that it had standing to maintain the suit because the filibustering of judicial nominees was creating a significant number of vacancies in the federal courts of appeal, particularly in the District of Columbia, thereby harming the proper administration of justice and injuring Judicial Watch’s ability to use the courts to carry out its public interest mission. The suit was effectively rendered moot when a bipartisan group of 14 senators agreed to discontinue filibusters of judicial nominees absent “extraordinary circumstances.”This case illustrates the creativity and breadth of Judicial Watch’s efforts to address important issues affecting the U.S. judicial system.
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