Washington – It took more than eight months and executing the “nuclear option,” but Jeffrey Alker Meyer, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and former federal prosecutor, was confirmed by the Senate on Monday as a U.S. District Court judge in Connecticut.
Meyer’s nomination had to clear a couple of hurdles Monday. The first was a vote for cloture, or to end debate on the nomination. The vote was 55-37.
Meyer’s nomination could move forward because Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed Senate rules in a move dubbed the “nuclear option,” because of the heat it has received from Republicans. Before the rules changed, cloture required at least 60 votes but, after the nuclear option became possible, all nominations except those to the Supreme Court can move forward with a simple majority of votes.
Meyer then won his confirmation vote, 91-2. Only Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, voted against the nominee.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., spoke in support of the new judge’s “extraordinary credentials.”
Meyer was a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office in Connecticut from 1995 to 2004, then served as senior counsel to the independent inquiry into allegations of fraud in the United Nations' $60 billion food-for-oil program in Iraq.
He was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, as was Blumenthal. Meyer also was a visiting professor of law at Yale Law School, where he taught in the Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic. He had also been a staff attorney for Vermont Legal Aid. Meyer received his undergraduate degree and law degree from Yale.
Republicans did not criticize the nomination, but did blast Reid for changing Senate rules. Before the rules change, the GOP had held up many of the Obama administration’s nominees.
“The majority voted to cut us Republicans out of the process,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Meyer is the son of state Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford.
He succeeds the late U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz.