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How the Senate's Filibuster Change Could Protect Dodd-Frank

"Senate Democrats' decision to change filibuster rules has shifted the composition of a powerful federal appeals court, a move that could bolster the banking agencies against future industry challenges to the Dodd-Frank Act.

"Lawmakers confirmed the last of three judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit late Monday, filling the final vacancy on the 11-seat bench.

"The court, which has tilted conservative in recent years, is a primary battleground for lawsuits against government agency rules, including several recent appeals to the financial reform law."


"The three new judges — Robert Wilkins, Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard — were at the heart of the battle over the 'nuclear option,' after Senate Republicans torpedoed their nominations earlier in the fall. Critics warned that the court's workload was too light to require additional judges or that Obama was trying to 'pack the court,' rather than focusing on the qualifications or ideological leanings of the nominees.

"'Even the Republicans in the Senate didn't criticize any of these judges based on legal qualifications or merit,' said Dennis Kelleher, president and chief executive officer of advocacy group Better Markets. 'They were reduced to making the absurd argument that the workload of the D.C. Circuit was so low that they weren't needed.'"


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