Alexander Move Blocks Federal Court Nominee From Knoxville

Dec 11, 2013

Attorney Pamela Reeves, nominee for the U.S. District Court, East Tennessee.
Credit Reeves, Herbert and Anderson

Knoxville attorney Pamela Reeves has been waiting since May for a confirmation vote that could elevate her to a federal judgeship here in East Tennessee. And she’ll have to wait a little while longer.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported a group of federal nominees, including Reeves, was blocked unexpectedly Monday by Senator Lamar Alexander. His move was a protest to rules changes Senate Democrats made last month to expedite President Obama’s nominees to numerous federal positions. Republicans decried the alterations as a "nuclear option" that would ultimately hurt the way business is conducted in the chamber. Alexander chastised Democrats' actions as an extreme example of partisan politics.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Alexander said the changes created a Senate without rules. "So until I understand better how a United States senator is supposed to operate in a Senate without rules, I object,” he said.

In May, President Obama nominated Reeves to succeed retiring U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips. Phillips left the bench in July.

A GOP aide told the News Sentinel Reeves' nomination is expected to be confirmed eventually. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could decide to call for individual votes on each nominee this week.