Move along, nothing to see here!
However, the D.C. Circuit doesn't need new judges.
It is the most underworked federal appellate court in the country, and their workload is dropping by the year. This is true across virtually every statistical measure, from total appeals filed, to total appeals completed or appeals per active judge.
And, as the D.C. Circuit's chief judge has explained, when you take into account work by the court's senior judges it has the equivalent of 11.25 full-time judges, even more than the 11 seats officially allocated to it.
What's really going on is an attempt to insulate the president's executive and regulatory actions from court review.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer unmasked the plan earlier this year at a fundraising dinner.
He catalogued decisions of the D.C. Circuit that he disagreed with, including one striking down the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule — a costly rule that would have shuttered many power plants and sent energy prices through the roof.
He then vowed to his donors: "We will fill up the D.C. Circuit one way or another."
If President Obama gets his way, by the time the D.C. Circuit hears a challenge to the anti-coal regulations, he will have filled over a third of the court with his handpicked judges.
Sen. Manchin has promised to "fight EPA overreach," warning that in the wake of the new regulations, "American jobs will be lost, electricity prices will soar and economic uncertainty will grow."
But will he have the courage to stand up for his constituents, even if that means standing up to his own party's president? Or will he go along with Obama's attempt to fill the D.C. Circuit with judges he can count on to rubberstamp his regulatory agenda?
The president's three D.C. Circuit nominees will soon go to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote. I hope Sen. Manchin will stand up for West Virginia's coal industry and stop President Obama's court-packing plan.
Severino is chief counsel to the Judicial Crisis Network.