"It seemed the most unremarkable of votes. By a tally of 90 to 0, the US Senate recently approved President Obama’s nomination of a Missouri magistrate judge, Audrey Fleissig, to the federal district bench," The Boston Globe reports. "To win approval, however, Fleissig had to overcome months of delays secretly engineered by Republicans. Even Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat who recommended Fleissig, says she has no idea which of her GOP colleagues held up the vote. Now the fallout over the four-month wait for Fleissig’s approval -- and other nominees’ similar long waits, all of which create extended vacancies -- has spawned action. McCaskill has persuaded at least 65 senators to sign a petition calling for the end of a practice that allows any single senator to hold up bills or nominations anonymously."
The New York Times: “President Obama’s nominee to run Medicare and Medicaid, Dr. Donald M. Berwick, is a man with a mission, a preacher and a teacher who has been showing hospitals how they can save lives and money by zealously adhering to clinical protocols for the treatment of patients. Hospital executives who have worked with Dr. Berwick describe him as a visionary, inspiring leader. But a battle has erupted over his nomination, suggesting that Dr. Berwick faces a long uphill struggle to win Senate confirmation.”