WASHINGTON — A north Louisiana state judge's nomination for a federal judgeship sailed through the U.S. Senate Tuesday morning with unanimous support.
Terry A. Doughty was confirmed by a final vote of 98-0 and now awaits President Donald Trump's final official sign-off before taking up his new lifetime appointment.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who's been in his home state while battling brain cancer, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California were both absent from the vote. Every other senator backed Doughty's confirmation.
Doughty, a Rayville native and graduate of Louisiana Tech and LSU Law School, currently sits on the bench in Louisiana's Fifth Judicial District, which covers Richland, Franklin and West Carroll parishes.
He'll join the currently depleted ranks of federal judges in the sprawling, 42-parish Western District of Louisiana. A spate of retirements and longstanding vacancies in the district has left it with only two full-time district judges.
“We are making progress on appointing conservative federal judges,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, in a statement Tuesday. “Terry Doughty is highly qualified and so was confirmed with strong bipartisan support.”
But Cassidy also blasted his Democratic colleagues on Thursday over delays in moving on Doughty's confirmation and those of other Trump nominees for the federal judiciary.
After Doughty cleared a cloture motion — a procedural move requiring a vote on whether or not to consider a nominee and hold an actual confirmation vote — by a wide bipartisan margin of 94 to 2, Cassidy decried "blanket obstruction" by Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader.
Forcing the cloture vote — which triggered up to 30 hours of "debate" on Doughty's nomination, delaying consideration of other nominees — "is a stall tactic that is hurting Americans who deserve to receive service from our court system in a timely manner," Cassidy wrote in a Facebook post. "Senate Democrats should cut it out."
Both parties have engaged in escalating partisan battles over federal judicial appointments. Democrats forced a major showdown over Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's nomination last spring, at least in part as payback for the nine-month-long refusal by Senate Republicans to consider former President Barack Obama's nominee for the same seat, Merrick Garland.