Change in Senate's Filibuster Rules

Banker Resource
January 17, 2014 — 1,328 views  
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The decision of the Democrats of the Senate to change the filibuster rules has brought about a change in the composition of a federal appeals court. This move even has the potential to bolster up banking agencies against the challenges that the Dodd-Frank Act can bring in.

Federal Appeals Court Appoints its 11 Judge Panel

Recently, lawmakers had confirmed the filling of the vacancy for the final judge for US Court of Appeals for Columbia. There was a vacancy of 11 judges in this court. The court serves as a prominent battleground for lawsuits and complaints against rules chalked out by the government agencies. These rules also include various recent appeals for changes in financial reform law.

Though including a few more judges appointed by the Democrats does not totally tip the scales in front of a randomly selected panel of three judges, this change is believed to bring in at least some significant impact.

James Cox, who is a law professor at Duke University, said that the variables have changed now and the way they are structured, chances are that the agencies are likely to win more. Until recently, the method of opting for an even split of four-four active judges appointed either by the Republican or Democratic presidents, was employed by the court. This number will now be shifting to a split of seven-four in the favor of Democrats. However, the court has retained quite a few senior judges, who are under a kind of partial retirement, with majority of them appointed by Republicans.

Partner at Morrison Foerster, Oliver Ireland feels that the judges appointed by Democrats tend to be more sympathetic towards the government. This attitude of the judges can make the existing challenges of Dodd-Frank even tougher.

Just an Act of 'Filling up the Court'?

Three new judges to recently fill in the 11 seat vacancy at the court of Appeals were Patricia Millett, Cornelia Pillard, and Robert Wilkins. They were at the heart of the 'nuclear option' fight after the Republicans in the Senate gunned their nominations previously in fall. Critics even warned that the workload of the court was not too heavy to require any additional judges. Some even stated that Obama was just trying to ensure that the court stays packed without taking into consideration the qualifications or ideologies of the nominees.

Dennis Kelleher, the CEO and president of Better Markets, which is an advocacy group, defended this decision by saying that even the Senate Republicans did not say anything against the merit or legal qualifications of the judges.

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