The Estrada DC Court of Appeals nomination in 2001, early in George W. Bush’s Presidency, is one example. Democrats blocked him and went on to get pounded in the midterms. Republicans gained 8 seats in the House and won back the Senate. There were other reasons, but it didn’t help.
Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees (other than Garland) were given fair treatment by Republicans and were confirmed with several Republicans voting in favor. Neither were filibustered.
When President Obama nominated Sonya Sotomoyor, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said “Senate Republicans will treat Judge Sotomayor fairly, but we will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.”
The Senate approved Sotomayor by a vote of 68–31 with 8 Republicans voting in favor.
In Elena Kagan’s case, minority whip Jon Kyl dismissed speculation about a filibuster, “the filibuster should be relegated to extreme circumstances, and I don’t think Elena Kagan represents that.”
Kagan was approved by a vote of 63–37 with 5 Republicans voting in favor.
The Garland nomination, which came at the end of Obama’s term, was not the first time an opposition party has run out the clock on a nominee. Let’s this in perspective. Republicans did not block Obama’s Supreme Court Justices Obama nominated earlier in his term. Democrats would be wise to follow their lead.