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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


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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)."

Brookings Forum: BREAKING THE JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS AND CONFIRMATIONS LOGJAM (Brookings, 02/28/11)
Lengthy exchange between Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli and panel member Manus Cooney at Forum transcript pp. 24-27

Grassley's action to be put to the test (Dubuque Telegraph Herald [IA], 02/08/11)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: Last year, secret holds denied floor votes to 19 judicial nominees who were approved by the Judiciary Committee (14 with Grassley's support). Now, as the committee's new ranking Republican, Grassley will help determine whether the secret hold change makes a difference. An early test will be bipartisan calls to reduce massive federal court delays caused by more than 100 judicial vacancies, including 49 court-designated judicial emergencies. Much could depend on what Grassley meant when he recently said that he wants to move "consensus nominees" after "a thorough review.

A test of the Senate (Times Record [ME], 02/08/11)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "partisan obstruction reduced confirmations of President Obama’s trial and appeals court judges to 60. In contrast, a Democratic Senate confirmed 100 in President George W. Bush’s first two years. Last year, floor votes were even denied to 16 judicial nominees whom the Judiciary Committee had approved on unanimous or bipartisan votes. Court cases face massive delays as federal judicial vacancies have soared to more than 100, including 49 judicial emergencies designated by the U.S. Courts. Bipartisan calls to solve the judicial vacancy crisis pose a clear test of whether the Senate can still function."

Prompt votes on judges  (Bucks County Courier Times [PA], 01/24/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Those denied floor votes included 13 who were approved without dissent by Judiciary Committee members and an equal number who would have filled judicial emergencies designated by the U.S. Courts. New Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., recognizes that "there have been too many vacancies, and several of them have lasted for way too long." He could play a key role by insisting on prompt floor votes on these and other nominees to fill judgeships."

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James Graves Scheduled For Judicial Re-Nomination Vote (Minority Defense Litigator: Diverse Lawyers Who Defend Corporate America, 01/24/11)
"I learned from Glenn Sugameli today that Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James E. Graves, Jr. has been placed on the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee for a Committee Executive Business Meeting to vote on judicial renominees who had hearings and unanimous committee votes in the last Congress. ... For a detailed history regarding Justice Grave’s nomination, please see the nomination’s history here. {link to Judging the Environment nominee page on James E. Graves, Jr.)

Confirm new judges (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 01/21/11)
"In the Judiciary Committee, Cornyn supported 15 of 18 Obama administration nominees, and Texas' senior senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, took issue with the Senate's rule that nominees are being held to a standard of requiring 60 votes instead of 51. “That is changing the Constitution of the United States,” she said. In spite of what Cornyn said, political wrangling did deny floor votes to Saldaña and 18 other nominees who were supported by both of their home state senators and approved by the Judiciary Committee. ... A solution could emerge if Cornyn and Hutchison insist on prompt floor votes on Saldaña and other nominees to fill judgeships." Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor

Tenn. senators could help reduce huge court backlogs (Daily Herald [Columbia, TN], 01/20/11)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "Those denied floor votes included 16 who had bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee and 13 who would have filled judicial emergencies designated by the U.S. Courts. Tennessee’s Republican senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker supported home-state nominee Jane Branstetter Stranch’s confirmation to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in September 2010. Indeed, Sen. Alexander previously urged that a long-delayed vote be held on Stranch, explaining that “It has long been my position … that a president’s judicial nominees deserve an up-or-down vote.” Both senators could help reduce massive court backlogs by insisting that the Senate schedule prompt floor votes on committee-approved judicial nominees."

Vote On Nomination Gets Closer‎ (Times Record [Fort Smith, AR], 01/18/11)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "Among the "unopposed but unconfirmed nominees is former Western District U.S. Attorney P.K. Holmes," whom the Judiciary Committee endorsed unanimously to fill a judgeship that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has declared a "judicial emergency vacancy." The Times Record's editorial discussed Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor's success in reaching across the aisle "to end filibustering on several Bush nominees." Now, Arkansas Republican Sen. John Boozman can help ensure the Senate will schedule votes to fill the 45 emergencies and nearly 100 total judicial vacancies nationwide. Indeed, even before Boozman was sworn in, his spokeswoman recognized that "The confirmation of P.K. Holmes is important to helping with the heavy caseload in the state,""

Coburn's promise (Tulsa World [OK] , 01/17/11)
"Unfortunately, even if consensus federal judicial nominees emerge soon, floor votes could well be delayed indefinitely or blocked outright. President Obama just resubmitted 19 judicial nominees whose floor votes were blocked by Senate Republicans. Thirteen of these had been approved by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn and other Judiciary Committee members without dissent. An equal number would have filled judicial emergencies designated by the U.S. courts. Chief Justice John Roberts' year-end report calls for urgent action to remedy the problem of vacant federal judgeships. Vacancies have risen to almost 100, nearly one half of which are emergencies. Coburn could make a difference by simply fulfilling his 2005 vow that: "I will continue to insist that the judicial nominations from any president - Republican or Democrat - receive the courtesy of an up-or-down vote."" Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor

Justice delayed results in justice denied  (Oklahoman, 01/16/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Senate Republicans blocked floor votes on 19 judicial nominees. Thirteen were approved without dissent by Oklahoma Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn and other Judiciary Committee members. An equal number would have filled judicial emergencies designated by the U.S. courts. In 2005, Coburn vowed that he would continue to insist that the judicial nominations from any president, Republican or Democrat, have the courtesy of an up-or-down vote. Now, Coburn can insist that floor votes be held on nominees to fill the 45 emergencies and nearly 100 total judicial vacancies nationwide."

Judicial vacancies can lead to justice denied (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA] , 01/04/11)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "Despite the crisis that was created by more than 100 judicial vacancies, Senate Republicans blocked floor votes on 19 nominees. These included 13 whom the Judiciary Committee approved unanimously and an equal number who would fill judgeships that the U.S. courts have designated as judicial emergencies. Sen.-elect Pat Toomey, R-Pa., recognizes that "there have been too many vacancies, and several of them have lasted for way too long." Confirming judges can reduce the increasingly common problem of justice delayed becoming justice denied as memories fade and witnesses and parties pass away."

The Urgent Need to Confirm Judges (Daily Journal [CA] , 01/04/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: “Nineteen nominees who won committee approval never got an up-or-down vote on the floor.” The unprecedented nature of Senate Republican obstruction is revealed by a closer look: the Judiciary Committee approved 13 of these nominees unanimously, and an equal number would have filled judicial emergencies designated by the U.S. Courts. Confirming judges can reduce the increasingly common problem of justice delayed becoming justice denied as memories fade and witnesses and parties pass away. Indeed, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s year-end report called for urgent action to remedy the problem of federal judicial vacancies."

The Cooler (South Florida Daily Blog, 01/03/11)
"here's what caught my eye. ...[Miami] Herald: They write letters. What they didn't do [reproduces Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor]

What they didn't do (Miami Herald, 01/03/11)
"The Dec. 26 editorial Surprising outcome of lame-duck Congress stated that, ``Senate Republicans also agreed to confirm 19 Obama judicial nominees whose appointments had been languishing for months.'' True, but Senate Republicans blocked floor votes on 19 other judicial nominees, including 13 whom the Judiciary Committee approved unanimously, and an equal number who would fill vacancies that U.S. courts have designated as ``judicial emergencies.''" Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor

Judges held hostage  (Salt Lake Tribune [UT] , 12/18/10)
Letter to the Editor from Glenn Sugameli: "The thumb-down editorial “Vote on Matheson” (Our View, Dec. 5) explains how “the nomination of Scott M. Matheson Jr. to the bench of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being held hostage to partisan gridlock” and exhorts Sen. Orrin Hatch to “publicly urge his Republican colleagues to bring this nomination to a vote.” The Senate should indeed vote on Matheson and on 37 other pending judicial nominees, 29 of which were unanimously cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Hatch is a member. Seven of the cleared nominees who had one or more committee “no” votes are women, people of color, or both. Fairness, and the need to fill unprecedented numbers of judicial vacancies, argue for full Senate votes on all nominees. For example, prominent conservative Republican supporters of Goodwin Liu’s nomination to a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals “emergency vacancy” include Kenneth Starr and Clint Bolick. President George W. Bush’s White House ethics counsel Richard Painter explained that Liu “should not be controversial.” Seven Republican-appointed judges signed a 9th Circuit Judicial Council letter describing “our desperate need for judges.”"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."