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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


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Bipartisan Home-State Senator Pressure Could Ease Judicial Vacancy Crisis (American Constitution Society Blog, 09/20/11)
Glenn Sugameli Guest Post: "Justice delayed has become justice denied, as continuing, unjustifiable Senate obstruction of consensus federal judicial nominees delays resolution of urgent health, safety, environmental, and other cases. Incredibly, Senate Floor votes on 27 judicial nominees are being blocked, four more than I decried in my September 2010 ACSblog guest post, "Federal Judicial Vacancy Crisis Deepens as Unnamed Senate Republicans Block Floor Votes on All 23 Pending Judicial Nominees." By next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will raise the total to 32 by approving five more consensus nominees. The 92 current federal court vacancies are almost 50 more than the 44 I mentioned in my December 2008 ACSblog post. There are still 21 announced future vacancies, and current vacancies that the U.S. Courts have declared to be "judicial emergencies" have increased during President Obama’s term from 20 to 35.... The good news is that strong bipartisan home –state senator pressure has broken, and could continue to break, the deep-freeze on confirmation of federal judges. Indeed, strong support from Republican home-state senators finally obtained up-or-down Floor votes for several much-delayed nominees I described last September."

Glenn Sugameli: Johnson is only freshman GOP senator blocking own state’s judicial nominees (Cap Times , 08/10/11)
" Your recent editorial, “Ron Johnson represents Alabama better than Wisconsin,” aptly compares obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominees by Republican U.S. Sens. Johnson of Wisconsin and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Johnson’s extremism, however, is worse than implied by the editorial’s comparison to “Sessions and his allies from the states of the old Confederacy.” In general, GOP senators from those states have strongly supported Obama’s Circuit Court of Appeals and district court nominees from their home states. For example, Mississippi’s GOP senators repeatedly pressured Senate leaders and publicly denounced lengthy delays to confirm James E. Graves Jr. (5th Circuit) and Carlton Reeves (district court). North Carolina senators’ bipartisan pressure secured delayed approvals of their state’s district court and two 4th Circuit nominees, James Wynn and Albert Diaz. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s speech urging a floor vote led to Jane Stranch’s 6th Circuit confirmation. In January, President Obama resubmitted 12 nominees for judgeships from six states with freshmen Republican senators. Not only is Johnson the only one who has not supported his state’s nominees, he is preventing the Senate from even considering both Victoria Nourse (7th Circuit) and Louis Butler (Western District of Wisconsin)."

Forum: Give all judicial nominees a vote (Journal Star [Peoria, IL], 12/15/10)
Glenn Sugameli: "nearly all - seven of eight - of the nominees with one or more "no" votes in committee are women, people of color, or both. Fairness and efforts to add diversity to the overwhelmingly white male federal bench argue for Senate lame-duck votes on all nominees. For example, supporters of Goodwin Liu's nomination to fill a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals emergency vacancy include prominent conservative Republicans such as Kenneth Starr and Clint Bolick. President George W. Bush's White House ethics counsel, Richard Painter, explained that Liu "should not be controversial." Seven active Republican-appointed judges signed a recent 9th Circuit Judicial Council letter that cited "our desperate need for judges" and urged the Senate to fill the vacancies "promptly.""

Vote on nominees (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [PA] , 12/14/10)
"Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, tries to blame President Obama and the Senate Judiciary Committee for judicial vacancies by claiming that "only 23" district court nominees are awaiting final votes. At the time, Republicans were blocking votes on all 26 (now 30) district court nominees and eight circuit court nominees. All obtained the support of their Republican and Democrat home-state senators," Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor

Unfair delays for federal judges (Herald Sun [NC] , 12/11/10)
" There are now 38 judicial nominees awaiting floor votes. All are supported by their home-state Republican and Democratic senators, and 29 unanimously cleared the Judiciary Committee. Almost all (7 of 9) nominees with one or more committee "no" votes are women, people of color, or both. Fairness and unprecedented numbers of judicial vacancies argue for immediate Senate votes on all nominees." Glenn Sugameli, published Letter to the Editor

All deserve vote (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA] , 12/10/10)
"[T]he Senate can and should vote on all pending nominees. For example, supporters of Goodwin Liu's nomination to fill a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals emergency vacancy include prominent conservative Republicans, including Kenneth Starr and Clint Bolick. President George W. Bush's White House ethics counsel Richard Painter explained that Liu "should not be controversial." Finally, seven of nine of the nominees with one or more no votes in committee are women, people of color, or both. Fairness, and efforts to add diversity to the overwhelmingly white male federal bench, argue for Senate votes on all nominees." Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor

ACS Weekly Bulletin  (American Constitution Society Blog, 12/03/10)
"[T]he graph "shows a disappointing lack of major progress in the percentage of female federal judges in recent years," according to Glenn Sugameli, founder and head of the environmental community's Judging the Environment project on federal judicial nominations. Sugameli told ACSblog that President Obama's 43 confirmed judicial nominees include 22 women and 17 men and women of color, but that every nominee blocked by Senate obstruction is preventing further diversification on the federal bench."

JUDICIARY: Democrats pushing for judicial confirmations (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 12/02/10)
"Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominations for Defenders of Wildlife, predicted a deal in which noncontroversial nominees are bundled together and approved en masse. More controversial nominees could face individual votes, he suggested, and Reid might have to file a procedural motion ending debate in order to get an up-or-down vote on Liu."

Male Judges Far Outnumber Women Judges, Federal Court Graph Shows  (American Constitution Society Blog, 11/30/10)
Glenn Sugameli, founder and head of the environmental community's Judging the Environment project and website on federal judicial nominations, told ACSblog, "The U.S. Courts' Federal Bench Gender Snapshot shows a disappointing lack of major progress in the percentage of female federal judges in recent years." Sugameli continued, "President Obama's 43 confirmed judicial nominees include 22 women and 17 men and women of color. Senate Republican obstruction of every pending judicial nominee, however, is blocking votes that would increase the diversity of the federal bench. Ten of the 23 nominees awaiting Floor votes are women and 13 are men and women of color."

JUDICIAL VACANCIES: Senate should act on pending nominees (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI], 11/29/10)
Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor: "as judicial vacancies soared to over 100, current and retired Republican-appointed federal judges have urged the Senate to stop delaying and act now on all the pending nominees. Floor votes on some of the 50 judicial emergencies, including the Western District of Wisconsin (Louis Butler Jr.) and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (Goodwin Liu and Mary Murguia), could also add African-American, Asian-American and Latina judges, respectively. Among 23 nominees awaiting floor votes are 10 women and 13 people of color (some are both)."

Fill judicial vacancies (Deseret News [UT] , 11/24/10)
Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor: "Bizarrely, however, Senate Republican "holds" have even blocked Utah's Scott Matheson Jr. and other consensus nominees who have strong support from home-state Republican senators. In early June, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Matheson's 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals nomination without dissent, and Sen. Orrin Hatch promised to "do everything in my power to get him through as soon as I can." Since then, judicial vacancies have soared to over 100, including 50 judicial emergencies, and current and retired Republican-appointed federal judges have urged the Senate to stop delaying and act now on all the pending nominees."

Glenn Sugameli: Obama nominees would diversify federal bench (Capital Times (WI), 11/19/10)
"President Obama’s 43 confirmed judicial nominees include 22 women and 17 people of color (some, of course, are both). The 23 nominees awaiting floor votes include 10 women, nine of whom the Judiciary Committee approved without dissent. Prominent pending nominees, including Butler and Goodwin Liu (9th Circuit Court of Appeals), are among the 13 people of color awaiting floor votes."

ACS Weekly Bulletin Special Issue: ACS Priority Issues: A Year in Review (American Constitution Society Blog, 11/17/10)
Guest blogs: Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife's Judging the Environment, describes the deepening federal judicial vacancy crisis. (9/30)

AFJ signs letter with over 50 groups calling for immediate votes on judicial nominees (Justice Watch, 11/17/10)
Links to Judging the Environment's post of letter signed by Defenders of Wildlife

PUTTING NOMINATIONS HIGH ON THE SENATE'S TO-DO LIST (Washington Monthly, 11/16/10)
Steve Benen: So, what are senators to do for the next two years? Brian Beutler reports on a wise course of action. [includes excerpt quoting Glenn Sugameli] If I'm Harry Reid, I'm getting ready to make this one of my top priorities in the next Congress."

Eagles and many others still wait for Senate votes (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 11/15/10)
Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor: "“With a majority of women, state’s top court hits milestone (editorial, Nov. 10) correctly notes that “the federal bench still seems less welcoming.” The U.S. Senate can help change that during the lame-duck session. Floor votes are pending on 23 judicial nominees, including 10 women, nine of whom were approved by the Judiciary Committee without dissent."

A silver lining on judicial confirmations? (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 11/15/10)
Discusses Brian Beutler's Talking Points Memo analysis and includes excerpts quoting Glenn Sugameli

Silver Lining: Why Dems' Big Loss Could Pave The Way For Obama Nominees (Talking Points Memo, 11/15/10)
Brian Beutler: "Reid should concentrate Floor time on must pass bills, message and other votes that highlight differences and important matters that are or should be non-controversial, including confirming lifetime federal judges," Glenn Sugameli, an advocate for swift judicial confirmations, tells TPM. "All of Obama's nominees to circuit and district courts have had the support of their home-state Republican and Democratic senators and the vast majority have been non-controversial nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee without objection and approved unanimously when they finally receive usually long-delayed Floor votes." "If one or more Republican senators force cloture votes on consensus nominees, they will accurately be seen as mindlessly obstructionist," Sugameli says. If they do not, nominees will be confirmed quickly."

Judicial Diversity (Courier-Journal [KY] , 11/11/10)
Glenn Sugameli published Reader Letter: "one key result of this obstruction by Republican senators; it has unjustifiably prolonged the overwhelmingly white male makeup of the federal bench. The Senate's lame duck session can and should make a difference. The 23 nominees awaiting floor votes include 10 women, nine of whom the Judiciary Committee approved without dissent. President Obama's judicial selection has begun to diversify the federal bench; there are 22 women among his 43 confirmed nominees. In addition, 17 Obama judges are people of color, and another 13 are awaiting floor votes."

Judicial diversity (Kentucky Enquirer, 11/11/10)
Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor: "Woolner's excellent column does not discuss one key result of this obstruction by Republican senators; it has unjustifiably prolonged the overwhelmingly white male makeup of the federal bench."

Election likely to affect EPA lawsuits, judge nominations (USA Today, 11/05/10)
USA TODAY GREENHOUSE blog reproduces Greenwire report quoting Glenn Sugameli

LAW: Election likely to affect EPA litigation, judicial nominations  (New York Times, 11/04/10)
Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominees from an environmental perspective for Defenders of Wildlife, said the onus is on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to push through pending nominations during the lame-duck session this month. After the lame duck, Sugameli predicted that public dissatisfaction with Congress would "increase pressure for Senate Republicans to get things done, especially as judicial vacancies have soared to over 100."

Nominees on hold (Akron Beacon Journal [OH], 11/04/10)
Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor: "Blanket holds by anonymous Senate Republicans have blocked floor votes on Judge Pearson and 22 other judicial nominees the Judiciary Committee has approved. Retiring Sen. Voinovich told CNN that the upcoming lame duck session of Congress should work to demonstrate a commitment to problem-solving rather than partisan bickering. A good place to start would be voting to fill judicial vacancies, which have soared to over 100."

Judgeships lie vacant as Senate Republicans stall confirmations (Daily Princetonian [Princeton University, NJ], 10/19/10)
"[F]ederal court access has suffered as holds placed on candidates caused vacancies to soar. The number of vacant judgeships that U.S. courts have declared “judicial emergencies” has risen to 49, from 20." Glenn Sugameli '76, published Letter to the Editor

Obama Slams Republican Leadership for ‘Unprecedented Obstruction’ of Judicial Nominations  (American Constitution Society Blog, 10/01/10)
"As noted yesterday in an ACSblog guest post by Glenn Sugameli, senators left town yesterday without confirming one nominee, and that now the situation is only likely to worsen."

Federal Judicial Vacancy Crisis Deepens as Unnamed Senate Republicans Block Floor Votes on All 23 Pending Judicial Nominees (American Constitution Society Blog, 09/30/10)
Glenn Sugameli Guest Post: "nominees remain frozen, however, despite announced support from Republican home-state senators who are unable to convince their colleagues to allow a vote (or are unwilling to follow Sen. Alexander's successful example). These include Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Robert Bennett (10th Circuit nominee Scott Matheson, Jr.); Arizona Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain (9th Circuit nominee Mary Murguia); Mississippi Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (district court nominee Carlton Reeves); and North Carolina's Richard Burr (4th Circuit nominee Albert Diaz and district court nominee Catherine Eagles)."

Nominees held back (Free Lance-Star [VA] , 09/15/10)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "unprecedented Senate Republican blanket secret holds are denying floor votes to many Judiciary Committee-approved judicial nominees. Federal court access has suffered as vacancies have soared to more than 100. Frozen nominees include John A. Gibney Jr. (Virginia District Court) and Albert Diaz (4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Virginia). Both were OK'd in committee without dissent months ago for vacancies that the U.S. courts have declared "judicial emergencies," which have risen from 20 to 49."

Blaming Obama for lack of judges 'absurd' (Daily Progress [Charlottesville, VA], 09/12/10)
"Federal court access has suffered as vacancies have soared to more than 100. Frozen nominees include John A. Gibney Jr. (Virginia district court) and Albert Diaz (4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Virginia). Both were OK’d in committee without dissent months ago for vacancies that the U.S. courts have declared “judicial emergencies,” emergencies that have risen from 20 to 49." [Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor]

When Republicans deny obstructing Obama's judicial nominees, they're lying (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH] , 09/11/10)
"Senate Republicans continue unprincipled, blanket denials of floor votes to judicial nominees, including many whom the Judiciary Committee approved without dissent months ago." [Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor}

Obama nominees blocked (San Francisco Chronicle [CA] , 09/09/10)
"Senate Republicans continue unprecedented across-the-board denials of floor votes to more than 20 judicial nominees, including California and other nominees whom the Judiciary Committee approved without dissent months ago." {Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor)

GOP stalling on judicial nominees (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 09/07/10)
"After an Aug. 4 Public Policy Polling survey showed North Carolina voters overwhelmingly (58 percent to 16 percent) supported prompt votes on Judges Albert Diaz and James Wynn, senators finally confirmed Wynn by unanimous consent. Diaz, however, remains in limbo, along with many others who were approved in committee without dissent months ago. Senate Republicans continue unprecedented denials of floor votes to more than 20 judicial nominees." Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor

GOP stonewalling president's worthy judicial nominees (Republican-American [CT] , 09/03/10)
"First, it only takes one senator to deny a vote on a judicial nomination or to force a nomination's return to the White House. as happened with Judge Chatigny. Because holds can be secret, all we know is one or more Republicans refused the unanimous consent required for an up-and-down floor vote. Second, Senate Republicans continue unprecedented across-the-board blockages, regardless of the merits, of judicial nominees." Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor

Burr should pressure GOP not to block N.C. judges (Asheville Citizen-Times [NC] , 09/01/10)
"Senate Republican holds (threatened filibusters) continue to freeze judicial nominees. These include Diaz, whom the Judiciary Committee approved (19-0) the same day as Wynn more than six months ago; and N.C. federal district court nominee Catherine Eagles (also approved in committee without dissent months ago). Sen. Burr is unable or unwilling to convince his fellow Republicans to allow votes on Diaz and Eagles." Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor

GOP blockage (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 08/31/10)
"Senate Republicans continue unprecedented across-the-board blockages, regardless of the merits, of judicial nominees. They will not allow the Senate to vote on more than 20 judicial nominees who were approved in committee, including many endorsed without dissent months ago. Federal judicial vacancies have risen to more than 100." [Glenn Sugameli. Letter to the Editor]

Judicial Nominees Still Being Blocked (Pilot [So Pines, NC] , 08/30/10)
"You aptly described “the virtual freeze that Republicans have imposed on judges and others nominated by President Obama” and how GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell blocked floor votes on nominations of North Carolina judges Albert Diaz and Jim Wynn to the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. After an Aug. 4 Public Policy Polling survey showed North Carolina voters overwhelmingly (58 percent to 16 percent) supported prompt votes on Diaz and Wynn, senators finally confirmed Judge Wynn by unanimous consent. [Sen. Richard Burr is unable or unwilling to convince his Republican colleagues to allow floor votes on Diaz and Eagles." Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor

Burr should do more to move Diaz confirmation through U.S. Senate (Rocky Mount Telegram [NC] , 08/17/10)
Published Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "Sen. Burr’s press release absurdly states: “I hope the Majority Leader will put political gamesmanship aside and make the confirmation of Judge Diaz a priority.” Senate Republican holds (threatened filibusters) have blocked floor votes on many nominees. These include Diaz, whom the Judiciary Committee approved (19-0) the same day as Wynn more than six months ago; and N.C. Federal District Court nominee Catherine Eagles, who was also approved in committee without dissent months ago. While 58 percent of North Carolina voters support a prompt vote on Diaz (Public Policy Polling survey), Sen. Burr is unable or unwilling to convince his Republican colleagues to allow a vote."

With Wynn confirmed, it’s Diaz’s turn for a vote (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 08/11/10)
Published Letter to the Editor from Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli: "The question remains: Why has Sen. Richard Burr’s impotent support for Judge Diaz not convinced his fellow Republicans to allow a floor vote during the more than six months since the Judiciary Committee voted 19-0 to approve Diaz on the same day it approved Wynn? A new Public Policy Polling survey found that 58 percent of North Carolina voters said that the U.S. Senate should vote as soon as possible on both judges."