Reid to Try to Force Vote on Controversial District Court Judge
By David Baumann | May 3, 2011 10:02 am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled Monday that he intends to try to force a Senate vote on the controversial nomination of John J. McConnell to sit on the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island.

Amid Republican opposition to McConnell, Reid filed a cloture petition to move the nomination and the Senate likely will vote  Wednesday on whether to end debate. That roll call will require 60 votes.

However, Republicans, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have opposed the nomination because of his work as a plaintiff’s attorney. “It is well-documented that Mr. McConnell is less than qualified to be a federal judge, that he has demonstrated a fundamental bias against business, and that his lifetime payouts from his career as a plaintiffs’ lawyer pose serious conflict-of-interest concerns,” Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, said in a  recent statement. The Chamber represents business interests.

President Obama has nominated McConnell three times over the last year, but the Senate has not acted on the nomination. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination, 11-7.

In filing the cloture petition, Reid said, “I hope, as I mentioned this morning, we are not in a situation where we have to file cloture on district court judges. That is a little much. I filed cloture on this because I couldn’t get agreement not to do it, but I hope we don’t have to have cloture on all the district court judges whom somebody has some concern about. “

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