Democrats control 51 seats, and there are two Independents who typically vote with the Democrats; if those 53 senators vote Monday to break the Republican filibuster, seven GOP senators will have to go along to push Bacharach’s nomination to a vote.
The 60-vote threshold for proceeding to business has become the norm in the highly partisan and closely divided Senate.
The GOP blockade of President Barack Obama’s nominations to circuit courts began without any public announcement, though it was expected Republicans would stall votes on the lifetime appointments as the presidential election drew nearer, in hopes that Obama will lose his re-election bid and a Republican president could make new nominations.
Republican senators say Democrats have used the same tactic in presidential years, stalling or denying straight votes for GOP nominees for appeals courts.
But Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday that in the past five presidential election years, Democrats have not denied an up-or-down vote to a Republican nominee who had bipartisan support.
Attorney Glenn Sugameli, who tracks the judicial process for the Washington-based Judging the Environment Project, said the custom of blocking votes in presidential election years has never applied to noncontroversial nominees like Bacharach.
Tulsa attorney John Dowdell, a nominee for a vacant district judgeship in Tulsa, is also awaiting a vote. The election-year stalling tactics have not typically applied to district judgeships.