Since he’s taken office, President Obama has seen more than 300 federal judges confirmed. That puts him ahead of the last two presidents at their six-year marks. A huge chunk of Obama’s confirmations happened in 2014 alone; the year after the Senate Democrats got rid of the filibuster for most judicial nominations.
A local environmental group is being accused of violating federal tax law by accepting payments from an allied political group to fund staff work on behalf of the Democratic mayoral campaigns of Bob Filner and David Alvarez.
A trio of public interest groups has called on Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana to withdraw their request to an environmental advocacy group for documents connected to its lobbying, telling the lawmakers that they didn’t show enough “sensitivity to the First Amendment” in their demand.
Corporate Counsel (subscription required) | December 22
Pro-free speech groups are warning Republican lawmakers that their investigation into environmentalists’ interactions with U.S. EPA “has a chilling impact.” The American Civil Liberties Union teamed up with the Center for Competitive Politics and the Alliance for Justice to accuse GOP watchdogs of going too far by demanding internal records of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental nonprofit.
Environment and Energy Publishing Greenwire (subscription required) | December 19
Three advocacy organizations — across ideological lines — are telling congressional investigators to back off in a probe of EPA ties to a leading environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Three advocacy organizations told Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in a letter that their investigation into alleged collusion between the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Protection Agency has a “chilling” effect on the constitutional rights of advocacy groups.
Bloomberg - BNA Money and Politics Report (subscription required) | December 19
Nearly lost in the rush of last-minute congressional activity: The increased degree to which President Obama is putting his stamp on the federal judiciary. The Democratic-run Senate — under new rules that forbid filibusters of nominees — confirmed a dozen judges this week, bringing the total number of Obama-nominated federal judges to 307.
President Barack Obama can thank outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) fortriggering the “nuclear option” in November 2013 and securing him one of the most robust judicial legacies of any modern president.
The Senate Democrats’ move last year to eliminate filibusters on most nominations — it now takes only a simple majority to confirm — has helped President Obama dramatically increase his impact on the federal judiciary for years to come.