Washington Week

By Andrew Clevenger / The Bulletin / @andclev

WASHINGTON — Monday, the Senate confirmed Debra Brown to be a U.S. District Court judge for Mississippi by a 90-0 vote. President Barack Obama nominated Brown, an attorney from Jackson, Miss., in May, and she passed out of the Judiciary Committee in August.

U.S. Senate vote

• Confirm Brown as U.S. District

Merkley (D) Y

Wyden (D) Y

Although Brown's confirmation vote was unanimous, a potential impasse over judicial nominations is brewing.

Senate Republicans recently filibustered two of President Obama's nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, often called the most influential court in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court. Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a cloture motion to end debate on the nomination of Nancy Pillard, Obama's third D.C. Circuit nominee, setting up a procedural vote for Tuesday.

Both Caitlin Halligan and Patricia Millett, Obama's other nominees, failed to garner the 60 votes needed to advance at this stage in their own nominations. If Republicans filibuster Pillard, Democrats may reconsider using the so-called “nuclear option,” which would allow them to change Senate rules regarding filibusters with a simple majority of only 51 votes.

The House of Representatives was on a district work period last week and did not cast any votes.