Judging the Environment In The News
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SUPREME COURT: Green groups ready ... for confirmation fight (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 02/23/16)
Glenn Sugameli, a senior attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, told E&E Daily he has been working "full time" on the Supreme Court nomination battle since news of Scalia's death went public.
"Clearly, this is going to be a major issue for however long it takes to fill the seat," Sugameli said. "This is something that needs to be done."
Without a replacement for Scalia, Supreme Court tie votes would leave lower court rulings in place, which could benefit the president's agenda. Still, Sugameli said the high court was necessary to clear up conflicting rulings.
"The Court being now split 4-4 could lead to paralysis," Sugameli said. "It doesn't just leave lower court decisions alone. It leaves competing lower court decisions alone."
Sugameli is also founder of Judging the Environment, a research project of Defenders of Wildlife that advises environmental groups on federal judicial nominations.
Since Scalia's passing, he has been sending emails to members of the press and supporters and compiling newspaper editorial board statements in support of Senate action on Obama's upcoming nominee. Sugameli has also been monitoring public opinion polls and senators' statements on a potential Scalia replacement.
"So many environmental issues are decided in the courts, whether they're enforced or upheld," Sugameli said. "The environmental groups need a very reasonable judge, someone who will enforce and uphold the laws that are on the books." ... Sugameli said, "There will be a nominee, and there should be a hearing, and no matter what happens in committee, that nominee should have an up-or-down vote in the full Senate."
GOP freeze on judgeship includes single-handed Tom Cotton blockade (Arkansas Times, 12/09/15)
Max Brantley: "Glenn Sugameli, who heads the Judging the Environment judicial nominations project, called the Leahy statement to my attention. It has experienced court delay because of a shortage of claims judges. His organization is not alone in protesting Cotton's obstructionism. ... And you can read more here [link to Judging the Environment webpage] particularly on Cotton's blockade of Armando Bonilla."
CQ follows the money on Tom Cotton's blockade of federal judges (Arkansas Times, 07/21/15)
Max Brantley: "Todd Ruger of CQ Roll Call follows up on Sen. Tom Cotton's solo blockade of five nominees to vacant seats on the federal court of claims — an obscure court that is nonetheless very important to business for deciding federal contract disputes and tax claims.
Ruger notes that Cotton's action dovetails with interests of a former conservative law firm for which he worked and which contributed to his political campaigns.... Cotton suggests a judge has told him the current court can handle cases. That person has not been identified, while numerous judges and bar officials have spoken of the need for filling the vacancies. Based on research by Glenn Sugameli of Judging the Environment, a court monitoring project, an educated guess on Cotton's source would be Victor Wolski, Cotton's former colleague. He forthrightly said every job he ever took prior to his confirmation was ideologically orientated to further limited government, individual liberty and property rights. A Cotton clone, in other words. None of Cotton's concerns were raised in four previous Senate votes by the Judiciary Committee to confirm the nominees."
After a Year’s Delay, Cruden Confirmed To Head Justice Department’s Environment Division (Main Justice, 12/17/14)
“GOP senators delayed and blocked unopposed nominations to fill lengthy vacancies because they were President Obama nominees,” said Glenn Sugameli, founder of the Judging the Environment project that follows judicial nominations of note to environmentalists. They were also delaying to protest the November 2013 vote by Democrats to change Senate rules to eliminate filibusters for most presidential nominees, he said.
Senate Confirms Cohen, Ross and Abrams, to U.S. Bench (Daily Report [GA], 11/19/14)
"Glenn Sugameli, a senior attorney for Defenders of Wildlife in Washington and founder of Judging the Environment, which conducts research to educate the public on the importance of lifetime federal judicial nominees, said that Tuesday night's voice votes on Cohen and Ross signal a possible thaw in relations between Senate Democrats and Republicans.
"The voice votes are encouraging because they are the first voice votes since the filibuster rules were changed for judicial nominations," he said. "Obviously, when people come through committee unopposed, they are supported by the home state senators. Oftentimes they are filling judicial emergencies. There is no reason to delay for a filibuster vote … only to have them unanimously confirmed."
"I don't know whether this is an exception … or whether this is a return to the normal practice of voice votes for unopposed nominations.""
New Eastern District Judge Nominated to Third Circuit (Legal Intelligencer, 11/14/14)
Restrepo's confirmation will be a "classic litmus test" for the tenor of the new Senate, said Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial vacancies for the Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C.... Given that approval from the home-state senators and the broad support Restrepo had for his confirmation to the district court, "It would be a real condemnation of the new Senate" if he doesn't move through the confirmation process smoothly, Sugameli said.... If the incoming Republican leadership holds to its recent statements about how it will conduct the next session, there's no reason that Restrepo shouldn't have a hearing when they come back at the beginning of the year, Sugameli said.... Sugameli called Restrepo a "no-brainer" for confirmation to the Third Circuit, saying, "I do not understand how there could be any reason to delay or block" him.
Halbig Review Won't End Debate Over What Obamacare Law Means (Forbes, 09/04/14)
Daniel Fisher, senior editor: "Glenn Sugameli of Judging the Environment informs me that while en banc rehearings typically only involve active judges, the rules also allow senior judges who were on the original panel to rehear the case. That changes the potential Republican/Democrat split to 5-8, but it would still be a majority of Democrat-appointed judges. ... Sugameli also notes that Obama only appointed three judges after Reid changed the filibuster rules.)"
Cloture filed on Julie Carnes and Robin Rosenberg (UPDATED) (Southern District of Florida Blog, 07/17/14)
David Markus: "Last night Senator Reid filed cloture on Carnes (candidate for the 11th) and Rosenberg (candidate for the SDFLA). Glenn Sugameli tells me that this means a final vote on these two judges is likely to occur early next week. ... UPDATE -- The full Senate vote for Carnes will be Monday and then the District Judges on Tuesday."
Amid Partisan Divide, Krause Seated on Third Circuit (Legal Intelligencer, 07/09/14)
Those 30 hours of debate after the cloture vote are more accurately called “30 hours of post-cloture delay,” said Glenn Sugameli, founder of Judging the Environment, who tracks judicial vacancies....Clearly, this is a problem, Sugameli said.... "Reid has been focusing on judicial nominees," Sugameli said, also pointing to the upcoming election as putting pressure on his party. Of Krause, he said, it's "great that this vacancy has been filled," but there's still an empty seat on the Third Circuit; an empty seat in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, although that bench got four nominees in June; and three vacancies in the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Arkansas judicial nomination creeps to completion over Republican obstructionism (Arkansas Times, 03/05/14)
Max Brantley: "The nomination had been pending for months, delayed by a general Republican roadblock to judicial confirmation. The cloture vote to end obstruction of a confirmation vote for Brooks passed 59-41. His confirmation vote followed without a dissenting vote, 100-0. Earlier, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy blasted the Republican obstruction again. It was clearly illustrated first by a 98-0 vote to confirm a Puerto Rican judge after 41 Republican senators voted to continue a filibuster on the nomination. Before a recent Democratic-backed rule change, those 41 votes would have been enough to block the confirmation vote, notes Glenn Sugameli, who follows the judicial process for Judging the Environment and sends me information along the way."
Glenn Sugameli comment on Keenan confirmed by Senate for 4th Circuit post (Washington Post, 03/02/14)
"Your description of the Senate’s 99-0 vote to confirm Judge Barbara Keenan to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals after a long-delay reveals the degree of mindless obstructionism by Republican Senators.
Even more telling is the fact that one or more unnamed Republican Senators refused to agree to a time limit on debate and forced a cloture vote to cut off a filibuster on Judge Keenan’s nomination, which was approved without dissent by the Judiciary Committee.
Incredibly, the filibuster “debate” today proceeded without a single word spoken against the nominee, and the cloture vote to cut off the filibuster was also a unanimous 99-0!... Today's cloture vote demonstrates conclusively that "opposition" to confirming Judge Keenan was pure obstruction for the sake of obstruction. The delay, filibuster, and demand for a cloture vote continued despite Keenan’s bi-partisan support and the lack of any concerns about the merits of the nomination or the need to fill the seat."
Jay Moody gets Senate Confirmation to Federal Judgeship (Arkansas Times, 02/25/14)
Max Brantley: "Thanks to Glenn Sugameli, who follows judicial nominations for the Judging the Environment judicial nomination project, for remarks from Sen. Mark Pryor during the debate on Moody's otherwise non-controversial appointment by President Obama:... UPDATE: The confirmation vote was 95-4. Which REALLY makes the Republican obstructionism clear."
Pryor's reward for helping Republicans: obstructionism (Arkansas Times, 02/12/14)
Max Brantley: "U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor was one of a handful of Democrats who declined to support the so-called nuclear option, a rule change to eliminate the filibuster of judicial nominees. The thanks he got today? A Republican refused to grant him unanimous consent to win approval of the nominations of two non-controvesial judicial appointees — Judge Jay Moody of Little Rock and Timothy Brooks of Fayetteville. Glenn Sugameli, who heads the Judging the Environment judicial nominations project, sent me the exchange from the Senate floor. ...Why is Grassley punishing Arkansas, whose senators didn't support the rule change (he noted Pryor's vote) and whose senators, Democrat and Republican, support the nominees? ... Grassley is, of course, also a hypocrite. Sugameli notes that Grassley supported a nuclear option in 2005 when the shoe was on the other foot."
Reid calls for cloture vote on Jay Moody judicial nomination (Arkansas Times, 02/12/14)
"UPDATE on the Republican obstruction of judicial nominations, particularly as it relates to the nomination of Circuit Judge Jay Moody to a seat on the federal eastern district court bench in Little Rock.
Thanks again to Glenn Sugameli and Carl Tobias for the heads-up:"
Letter to the Editor: Facts show filibuster letter was all wrong (Pocono Record [PA] , 01/10/14)
Glenn Sugameli: "Facts and history dispel the arguments in a Jan. 2 letter, "Filibuster change will haunt Democrats." The records of the actual nominees fatally undermine the charge that President Obama will "fill three judicial seats on Washington D.C.'s Circuit Court with liberal judges to do his bidding. They will rubber stamp any Obama legislation that comes before it." Patricia Millett was praised by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce's chief litigator. The second nominee was endorsed by arch-conservative Viet Dinh, and the third was previously confirmed unanimously by the Senate as a federal judge. The letter writer acknowledges that the 2005 Republican "nuclear option" threat to filibusters "was averted when a bipartisan compromise was reached." The recent Senate rules change, however, was triggered by Republican senators' repudiation of that compromise. Unprecedented filibusters had the declared intent and result of blocking votes on any possible Obama nominee to fill three D.C. Circuit vacancies, after Senate Democrats helped confirm four President George W. Bush judges to the court. The letter writer inexplicably concludes, "At least we will be spared the raking over the coals conservative justices like Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito have been put through. A simple majority will do." Bipartisan Senate simple majority votes rejected Bork and confirmed Thomas, Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court."
Letter: Facts all wrong in Jensen column (Oneida Daily Dispatch [NY], 12/23/13)
By Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney, Defenders of Wildlife: "Rick Jensen’s Dec. 14 column on OneidaDispatch.com, “The liberals who killed Jimmy Stewart” overflows with factual errors and absurdities. The prior rule ended nominee filibusters with 60 votes, not “2-thirds of the Senate;” and Elena Kagan never served on the D.C. Circuit — because GOP senators denied her a hearing when President Clinton nominated her. The Senate rules change was not caused by Jimmy Stewart-inspired filibusters to “prolong the process of confirming President Obama’s appointments.” Instead, it was triggered by unprecedented filibusters with the declared intent and result of blocking votes on ANY possible Obama nominee to fill three D.C. Circuit vacancies, after Senate Democrats helped confirm four Bush judges to the court. Obama’s D.C. Circuit nominees will not “load up the court with Big Government liberals who believe the constitution is a flexible living document that can be ignored as they see fit.” One was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce’s chief litigator, another by arch-conservative Viet Dinh, and the third was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as a federal judge."
Confirmation for N.Y.'s Elizabth A. Wolford is historic for multiple reasons (Daily Record [NY], 12/13/13)
"Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney and co-founder of Judging the Environment, said the number of “no” votes on both cloture and the merits of Wolford’s nomination were amazing, considering how strongly her nomination had been supported. He has headed his organization’s judicial nominations project since 2001. “It’s an indication of how obstructionist most of the Republicans are being in that this is the sort of nomination that normally would have been confirmed by voice vote, as it was in committee,” Sugameli said. “There was no opposition on the merits and it would have been confirmed awhile back. There’s a lot of obstruction still going on,” he added, pointing to the final delay Thursday morning.
He said Republicans are complaining that Democrats are wasting time, yet they used up their post-cloture time talking about things that have nothing to do with the nominee being considered. Sugameli said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, was wrong earlier this week when he said none of the pending nominees were judicial emergencies. The vacancy Wolford will fill was considered a judicial emergency based on caseloads. “It’s an emergency seat that should have been filled a long time ago,” Sugameli said. “It is a very bizarre situation where they’re really punishing the people and the businesses in the areas that don’t have enough judges. This doesn’t hurt the Democrats. “McConnell showed disinterest in the truth and finding out what the facts are. His statement was truly amazing for the amount of deception and outright lies.”"
Senate OKs Elizabeth Wolford as federal judge (Democrat and Chronicle [NY] , 12/12/13)
Brian Tumulty: "Glenn Sugameli, a senior lawyer at Defenders of Wildlife who tracks federal judicial nominations, interpreted the 29 votes against Wolford’s confirmation as a protest of the rules change. “There was not a word spoken on the merit of Wolford,” he said.
A 'nuclear option' was needed to overcome GOP obstructionists [Letter] (Baltimore Sun, 12/05/13)
Glenn Sugameli [Judging the Environment]: Commentator Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. rewrites recent history in his one-sided column on the Senate filibuster rule ("The nuclear option: then and now," Dec. 1). He utterly ignores the many Republican senators who filibustered President Barack Obama's judicial nominations after having insisted that it was unconstitutional to filibuster former GOP President George W. Bush's nominees. In contrast to these unexplained GOP flips on constitutional mandates, the positions of the Senate Democrats that Mr. Ehrlich quotes are quite consistent with the Constitution, which neither authorizes nor bans filibusters. The Democrats' rule change reflected the unprecedented Republican decision to filibuster any possible nominees for three D.C. Circuit Court vacancies"
Senate Democrats played more fairly [Judging the Environment Letter to the editor] (Richmond Times-Dispatch [VA], 12/05/13)
Glenn Sugameli: "In April 2009, my Correspondent-of-the-Day letter explained: “The fact that the Constitution does not require filibusters does not mean they are forbidden.” Your recent editorial “Dambusters” agrees: “The Constitution does not mention filibusters. It neither authorizes nor bans them.” Unfortunately, the editorial mistakenly equates the transposed Senate Republican and Democratic positions on filibuster rules. Many Republican senators filibustered President Obama’s judicial nominations despite insisting it was unconstitutional to filibuster President George W. Bush’s nominees. In contrast, Senate Democrats did not execute unexplained flips on the Constitution. Instead, their policy change reflected unprecedented Republican decisions to filibuster any possible nominees for three Washington, D.C., Circuit Court vacancies after the Senate confirmed Bush judges to all three seats."
It’s time for nuclear option in Senate to confirm nominees (Examiner, 11/03/13)
Robert Bowen, Economic Policy Examiner: ""While regular judges are split 4 to 4, Republican appointees make up 5 out of 6 senior judges, who also participate in three judge panels that decide nearly all cases,” Glenn Sugameli, Founder of Judging the Environment said. "Of President George W. Bush’s six nominees to the D.C. Circuit, four were confirmed (67%). Of President Obama’s five nominees to the D.C. Circuit, so far, only one has been confirmed (20%)," he added."
GOP DC Circuit Strategy, Revisisted (A plain blog about politics, 07/26/13)
Jonathan Bernstein: Glenn Sugameli writes to me after I wrote this one, saying: "I watched Pillard’s hearing, and read all of the broad-ranging letters to the Senate on her nomination, and every article, opinion piece, blog post, and Senator Statement on her nomination, and as a result I agree with much of your post , but strongly disagree with this portion: “with lots of hot-button issues in her writings for them to attack. …. Pillard, however, will have serious opposition, and it's probably more likely than not that she'll be killed by filibuster.” At her hearing, only three Judiciary Committee Republicans (Grassley, Lee and Cruz) really grilled Pillard (and ignored how their misconceptions and distortions that were dispelled by her testimony and prior writings). Sen. Flake asked good questions and seemed pretty satisfied with her answers. I strongly conclude that there NOT are “lots of hot-button issues in her writings for them to attack.” [...] As for a filibuster, Sen. Murkowski [R-AK] always opposes them on judicial nominees, McCain, THE key player on filibusters has disavowed filibusters on the D.C. Circuit nominees and one cosponsor of Grassley’s bill (Collins) wrote an Op-Ed that she would not filibuster on that basis and another (Graham) said he is uncertain." He sends along too a link to his extremely thorough and helpful site [LINK].
COURTS: Senate unanimously confirms D.C. Circuit nominee (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 05/23/13)
Environmentalists have closely watched Srinivasan's nomination and have criticized Republicans for holding up D.C. Circuit nominees. No judge has been confirmed to the circuit since 2006, and President George W. Bush was far more effective in filling the court's vacancies than Obama has been.
"The D.C. Circuit needs 11 judges to issue timely and well-reasoned decisions on a broad range of national environmental safeguards where the court has exclusive jurisdiction or a leading role," said Glenn Sugameli of Defenders of Wildlife.
Courts: Obama's pick for D.C. Circuit set for Senate hearing (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 04/09/13)
Jeremy P. Jacobs: ""The bottom line is this is extremely important for conservation and environmental groups because this is the court that has exclusive authority to decide, under major environmental statutes, what will be the protections for people, wildlife and the environment," said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife who follows judicial nominations closely. "In many cases, it's a mini-Supreme Court," he added. "If you can't confirm Sri, who are you going to confirm?" Sugameli asked."
Letter: Sen. Hatch's article on voting 'present' is disingenuous (Deseret News [UT] , 04/07/13)
Glenn Sugameli: "Sen. Orrin Hatch's "My View" is disingenuous ("Why I voted 'present' instead of 'no,' " March 26). He repeatedly insisted that President George W. Bush's judicial nominees receive "up-or-down vote[s], as the Constitution requires." His claim of consistency is belied by actions to deny President Barack Obama's judicial nominees such a vote. Sen. Hatch admits that because cloture to end a filibuster "requires a super majority of 60 …, 'present' and 'no' have the same procedural effect," but failing to vote also has the same effect. In 2012, his failure to vote was almost decisive, when a judge supported by Arizona Republican senators received the minimum 60 votes to end a filibuster. In 2011, his "present" supported an unprecedented attempt to filibuster a trial judge, while 11 principled Republicans voted for cloture and "no" on the merits. Sen. Hatch writes: "Three times, I have voted 'present' on a motion to end debate on a particularly controversial nominee. … I have not cast such a vote on a failed judicial nominee in more than a year." But his March 2013 "not voting" helped deny Caitlin Halligan an up-or-down vote, and his July 2012, "present" supported an unprecedented filibuster of a consensus judge who was confirmed unanimously in February 2013."
D.C. Circuit Nominee Blocked, Raising Fears Over Slow Rulings On EPA Rules (Inside EPA, 03/06/13)
"Environmentalists say the concern is especially relevant given the court's role in reviewing many EPA rules and policies. A source with the advocacy project Judging the Environment points to the Aug. 21 decision from a three-judge panel vacating EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) interstate emissions trading program, arguing that additional judges on the court could have resulted in EPA and advocates winning en banc review where the full court would have reconsidered what the source says is the "flawed" 2-1 opinion. ... The source says more broadly that both the speed with which the court can make a decision as well as the quality of the decision are both negatively affected by the lack of judges on the bench. More judges, the source argues, mean more time to write careful opinions that can deal with all the issues involved in a way that all parties in the case can understand how the issues are resolved, helping district judges work through future cases as well. And in terms of timing, the source argues that less time in reviewing air rules that are ultimately upheld mean less delays in implementing rules, which leads to lives saved from the pollution reduced under the rule.
The environmentalist notes that poor decisions from an overworked court can have broad impacts, and that a court at less than full strength is limited in reviewing cases en banc given that a majority is needed to agree to rehearing. "If they [mess] something up, it's national in scope," the source says."
Courts: Republicans again block D.C. Circuit nominee (Greenwire, 03/06/13)
Jeremy P. Jacobs: "Environmental groups immediately criticized Republicans. Glenn Sugameli of Defenders of Wildlife, who tracks judicial nominations, said the Republican arguments against Halligan were "dishonest and clearly erroneous." He echoed Schumer's claims that Republicans were simply trying to avoid "allowing any balance" on the D.C. Circuit."
Letter to the editor: More skirmishes over 'confirmation wars' (Des Moines Register [IA], 12/09/12)
Glenn Sugameli, founder and director, Judging the Environment: Marc Elcock’s Iowa View “Obama Can Quell Confirmation Wars” (Dec. 4) attacks an imaginary version of “Grassley Has a Chance To Quell Confirmation Wars” (Nov. 27) that was written by professor Carl Tobias.
Tobias accurately wrote that Senate Republicans have “automatically held over panel votes for seven days without convincing reasons for many nominees who were extremely capable and noncontroversial.” Elcock quotes the last four words out of context. He then misreads “many nominees” as if it was “all nominees” in order to contest a straw man claim that Tobias never made, “the assertion that Obama’s nominees were all noncontroversial.”
Elcock ignores Tobias’ focus on pending judicial nominees. Will Sen. Chuck Grassley convince Senate Republicans to allow votes to confirm 17 judges? These include 14 whom Grassley and the Judiciary Committee approved on voice votes and 10 who would fill “judicial emergency” vacancies. Incredibly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is ignoring pleas from Oklahoma, Maine, and Pennsylvania home-state Republican senators.
As the Register’s Aug. 7 editorial described, unopposed 10th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Robert Bacharach has “the strong support of both home-state senators, Republicans Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.”
McConnell blocking judicial nominations (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 12/08/12)
Letter to the Editor from Glenn Sugameli, Founder and director Judging the Environment: California federal courts are especially clogged because of Senate Republican filibusters that have "halted the nominations of nearly two dozen judicial appointments, causing backlogs in courts that delay justice for people and businesses across the country," ("Senate should go back to the future on filibuster reform," Editorial, Dec. 4).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continues to block votes to confirm 17 judicial nominees, including 14 whom the Judiciary Committee approved on voice votes. All four pending California nominees would fill vacancies that the U.S. courts have declared to be "judicial emergencies." Last week, the Senate GOP inexplicably delayed committee votes on five nominees, including another for a California judicial emergency.
Incredibly, Sen. McConnell is even ignoring pleas for votes by both home-state Republican senators from Oklahoma and both from Maine, as well as from Sens. Bob Casey, D.-Pa., and Pat Toomey, R.-Pa. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, also strongly supports confirming Patty Shwartz, his state's nominee to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judicial nominees still languish in Senate (Baltimore Sun, 12/07/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: John Fritze's recent article on the appointment of U.S. Magistrate Paul W. Grimm to a U.S. District Court seat ("Senate confirms Towson resident Grimm for U.S. judgeship," Dec. 4) reported the key point: Senate gridlock delayed action even though Paul Grimm's February nomination was "uncontroversial — members of both parties supported him."
Indeed, U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski urged swift action on other judicial nominees, 15 of whom were reported by voice vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Republican leaders, however, are still blocking votes to confirm 17 judges. They have even ignored pleas for long-overdue votes by both home-state Republican senators from Oklahoma and both from Maine, as well as from Pennsylvania's Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican. New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie also strongly supports confirming Patty Shwartz, his state's nominee to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Senate Moving on Stalled Judicial Nominees (National Law Journal, 12/06/12)
"Glenn Sugameli, who follows judicial nominations for Judging the Environment and Defenders of Wildlife, said there is still plenty of time for votes on all remaining district and circuit court nominees. "It is hard to believe that Senator [Mitch] McConnell can continue to ignore pleas for votes by both home-state Republican senators from Oklahoma and both from Maine, as well as from Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.),” Sugameli said in an email."
Why Courts Matter: What the 2012 Election Means for 2013 and Beyond (Center for American Progress, 11/08/12)
Caroline Fredrickson, President, American Constitution Society: “I want to commend Glenn [Sugameli, Judging the Environment]for everything you do which is so important. People need to understand that Glenn doesn’t just compile; Glenn actually makes sure these editorials happen. He writes Letters to the Editor to newspapers across the country. We saw the cumulative effect of that in terms of political impact. I’m sure my friends from Sen. Leahy’s office know this well; when I was chief of staff to Sen. Maria Cantwell, what your home-state paper says really counts, so the efforts to get Editorials, to get opinion pieces, to get Letters to the Editor is one of the major things that moves senators.”
Why Courts Matter: What the 2012 Election Means for 2013 and Beyond (Center for American Progress, 11/08/12)
Doug Kendall, Founder and President, Constitutional Accountability Center: “Glenn [Sugameli, Judging the Environment] does an incredible job of tracking every piece of press about this issue that’s out there and putting them on his website. It is an incredible resource for the entire community that’s interested in this. He really has collected a ton of editorial press.”
Letter: Republicans block court nominees (Knoxville News Sentinel [TN], 10/04/12)
Glenn Sugameli: Your editorial, "Senate shouldn't tarry on TVA board nominees," urged action "during the lame-duck session."
In 2010, Tennessee's U.S. senators finally overcame opposition to Jane Stranch's 6th Circuit Court of Appeals nomination.
Now, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has blocked even unopposed trial court nominees.
All 15 blockaded district court nominees had Judiciary Committee approval and support from their Republican and Democratic senators. Ten would fill judicial emergency vacancies declared by the courts.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D, Vt., stated: "Senate Republicans have not explained their unprecedented obstruction of President Obama's consensus nominees."
In August, Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., insisted there was "no reason" not to confirm his state's nominees in September "by a voice vote. This could be done in a moment." Now, he is urging confirmations during the lame-duck session, when the Senate will decide if justice delayed will remain justice denied.
Republicans block Geraci’s nomination (Daily Record [NY], 09/22/12)
nominations, proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “There’s still a possibility that they could agree and confirm some or all of those nominations,” Glenn Sugameli, head of Judging the Environment’s judicial nominations project in Washington, D.C., said Friday. “Nobody has opposed any of the 14 nominees who came through committee on voice votes.” Sugameli said unless the Republicans agree to allow a vote, there would not be enough time to vote on the pending nominees before the Senate recesses until after the Nov. 6 general election. He was not optimistic action would be taken between the elections and when the 113th Congress is seated in January. “It’s a total crap shoot,” Sugameli said. “The idea that maybe we might get to one of these in the lame duck session is no comfort at all. The idea that you might have to wait to fill these judicial emergencies until well into next year is outrageous. This is appalling.” Sugameli called McConnell’s statistics “a numbers game” and said there is no reason for Republicans to object. He agreed with Reid that votes on district court nominees who have the support of their home senators and are unopposed have never been blocked before. Sugameli said there is no reason to leave the judicial nominations hanging, “other than sheer partisan obstruction,” something he said he has never seen before in all the years he has been following judicial nominations. “This still stuns me,” he said. “It’s a big deal because there are over 800 district judges and they’re the judges who hold trials and decide issues that are critical to ordinary people, companies and others,” Sugameli said. “That’s where justice delayed is justice denied is especially true, at the trial court level.” “There is plenty of recent precedent for confirming at least the 17 pending nominees,” Sugameli said. “Something still could happen. It should happen. It always has happened. What tends to happen is that nominations, including judicial nominations, are the last thing they do before they walk out the door.”
GLENN SUGAMELI: U.S. Senate should honor the Constitution [& act on judicial nominees] (Patriot Ledger [MA], 09/21/12)
While The Patriot Ledger’s Sept. 17 OUR OPINION aptly urged “Honor Constitution Day by exercising your rights,” U.S. Senators should honor the day by exercising their constitutional duties.
Before the Senate recesses this week, it must provide 17 pending district (trial) court nominees “the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” as required by the Constitution’s Article 2, Section 2. Empty judgeships mean justice delayed is justice denied.
The Judiciary Committee approved all 17 with support from their Republican and Democratic home-state senators. Twelve would fill U.S. Courts-declared judicial emergency vacancies.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, reportedly “expects the district court nominees to be approved this month.” Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., held a news conference to insist there is “no reason” not to confirm two Pennsylvania federal district court judges in September “by a voice vote. This could be done in a moment.”
Geraci’s nomination blocked by Republican senator (Daily Record [NY], 09/21/12)
"Glenn Sugameli, head of Judging the Environment’s judicial nominations project in Washington, D.C., said there is still a possibility the Senate could agree to confirm some or all of the nominees before it recesses until after Election Day, Nov. 6."
The Public Pulse, Sept. 20: Senate needs to approve judges (Omaha World-Herald [NE] , 09/20/12)
Glenn Sugameli: In his Sept. 17 Midlands Voices essay, “Constitution still relevant, unique,” Michael B. Godfrey explains how the U.S. Constitution created a functional national government, unlike the prior Articles of Confederation, which had “neither an executive nor a judicial branch.” Unfortunately, high numbers of judicial vacancies mean justice delayed is justice denied, as Carol Bloch and Jan Schneiderman discussed in an Aug. 30 Midlands Voices essay, “Judicial vacancies adversely affect Midlanders.” Before recessing, the U.S. Senate has a duty to provide 17 pending District (trial) Court nominees “the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” required by the Constitution’s Article II, Section 2. The Judiciary Committee approved all 17 with support from their Republican and Democratic home-state senators. Twelve would fill declared judicial emergency vacancies in U.S. courts.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, reportedly expects the District Court nominees to be approved this month. Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., held a press conference to insist there is no reason not to confirm two Pennsylvania federal District Court judges in September “by a voice vote. This could be done in a moment.” Since 2001, I have headed the Judging the Environment project on judicial nominations.
Confirming judges (Fort Worth Star-Telegram [TX], 09/18/12)
Letter to the Editor by Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney, Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife: he Monday editorial, "On Constitution Day: Celebrated but challenged," demonstrated the need to protect "the right to vote ... because electing members of our representative government is the core function of citizenship."
Before recessing this week, the U.S. Senate must in turn exercise its core function in our representative government to vote on nominees for our third branch of government, the federal judiciary. Senators must provide 17 pending district court nominees "the Advice and Consent of the Senate," as required by the Constitution's Article 2, Section 2. Empty judgeships mean justice delayed is justice denied. The Judiciary Committee approved all 17 with support from their Republican and Democratic home-state senators. Twelve would fill U.S. courts-declared judicial emergency vacancies. Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee reportedly "expects the district court nominees to be approved this month." Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania held a news conference to insist there is "no reason" not to confirm two Pennsylvania federal district court judges in September by a voice vote.
Court Vacancies Mire Appeals (Congressional Quarterly, 09/17/12)
"The D.C. Circuit agreed to just one en banc review in each of its last two terms. “The vacancies really do have an impact,” says Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental advocacy group in Washington."
JUDICIARY: Vacancies shouldn’t wait on election (News Tribune [WA] , 09/07/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: Re: “Federal court vacancies will likely wait on the election” (www.thenewstribune.com, 9-6).
Despite this report, the Senate may very well confirm delayed consensus nominees this month.
There is still plenty of time. For example, on Sept. 26, 2008, the Democratic Senate confirmed 10 U.S. District Court judge appointments by President George W. Bush.
The Judiciary Committee approved 18 currently pending District Court nominees with support from every Republican and Democratic home-state senator.
Judiciary Committee Republicans supported 17 of these nominees. Twelve would reduce U.S. courts-declared judicial emergency vacancies that delay and deny justice.
Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania even traveled to an empty courthouse and held a news conference to insist there is no reason not to confirm two Pennsylvania federal District Court judges in September. He is correct; only senseless partisan obstruction by Senate Republicans could still prevent confirming all the committee-approved nominees.
G. Sugameli: Even more bad news for 'breathers' (Sun Journal [ME] , 09/04/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: Maine’s U.S. senators joined a filibuster that may undermine the Sun Journal’s conclusion in the aptly headlined editorial “Court ruling more bad news for breathers” (Aug. 26): that “The EPA can appeal the decision to the full District of Columbia Court of Appeals and it should do so as quickly as possible.” The editorial also noted “that two Bush-era appointees to the court voted to postpone the (Clean Air Act) regulations, while the Clinton appointee blasted the decision as an ‘absurdity’ unsupported by the factual record.” Three of the four George W. Bush judges the Senate confirmed to the D.C. Circuit continue on the court, including a member of the panel majority who filled the court’s 11th seat. Now, however, the court has three vacancies, so that five of the eight active judges would have to vote to review the 2-1 panel decision. Maine GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins voted last December to filibuster President Barack Obama’s nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit’s ninth seat. A Washington Post editorial opined: “It is a disgrace to the party that Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the only Republican to endorse an up-or-down vote.”
The missing judge (Concord Monitor [NH], 08/31/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "But for one thing, the conclusion of the Monitor's Aug. 24 editorial, "Court ruling keeps the poison coming," that the Environmental Protection Agency "should appeal the panel's decision to the full nine-member court," would be correct. Last December, however, Republican senators, including New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, filibustered Caitlin Halligan, President Obama's nominee to fill the D.C. Circuit's ninth seat. As a result, the court still has three vacancies and only eight active judges. An appeal to the full court would require that five judges vote to review the 2-1 panel decision that overturned safeguards against air pollution from upwind states. The editorial noted that "Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote (the majority) opinion joined by Judge Thomas Griffith. Both men were appointed by President George W. Bush; the dissenting judge was appointed by President Bill Clinton." Three of the four Bush judges the Senate confirmed to the D.C. Circuit continue on the court, including a member of the panel majority who filled the court's 11th seat."
Letter to the editor: GOP partisanship delays filling judgeships (Des Moines Register [IA], 08/09/12)
Glenn Sugameli: The Register editorial “Judges Remain Hostages in the Senate“ (Aug. 7) aptly describes how federal judicial vacancies delay and deny justice, and how Senate Republican obstruction even extends to district court (trial) judges and filibustering unopposed 10th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Robert Bacharach, who “had the strong support of both home-state senators, Republicans Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.”
Senators unanimously agreed, however, to a Sept. 10 confirmation vote for President Barack Obama’s nomination of Stephanie Rose as a U.S. district judge for the Southern District of Iowa. Senate GOP leaders including Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley confined the current shutdown to circuit court of appeals nominees.
In the last presidential election year, the Democratic Senate confirmed 10 President George W. Bush district judges on Sept. 26, 2008.
All Democratic and Republican home-state senators support the 18 currently pending district court nominees.
Sen. Grassley and other Judiciary Committee Republicans approved 15 on voice votes, including 11 of the 12 who would reduce the record number of U.S. Court-declared judicial emergency vacancies. Only senseless GOP partisan obstruction has delayed, and could still prevent, their confirmation.
Superficial Change on the Federal Bench? (California Lawyer, 08/01/12)
Lawrence Hurley: "The White House has instead adopted what Glenn Sugameli, a lawyer for the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife who tracks judicial nominations, calls a "careful approach." But Sugameli acknowledges that the administration's recent confirmations are "a major accomplishment" that has changed the face of the judiciary from one that is predominantly old, white, and male. ...To Sugameli of Defenders of Wildlife, Republicans' initial resistance to Watford, a man liberals perceive as a mainstream candidate, just seems bizarre. Watford, he groans, is "a corporate lawyer, for God's sake." "
UPDATE: Oklahoma Judge’s Fate Could Come Down to Republican Sens. Coburn, Inhofe (Oklahoman, 07/30/12)
"Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, and Glenn Sugameli, an attorney of the Judging the Environment project, told The Oklahoman last week that they expect Republican senators from Maine, Alaska and Massachusetts to vote to help Bacharach. That would be four. They also speculated that the two Arizona Republicans could go along and that Sen. Richard Lugar, of Indiana, and Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, might join the other Republicans. ... UPDATE: Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, is reporting that both of Maine’s senators will vote to advance Bacharach’s nomination. ... Sugameli, attorney with the Judging the Environment project, said Monday that Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, are potential votes for breaking the filibuster."
Senators' efforts, allies boost Kayatta's prospects (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 07/30/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Since 2001, I have tracked judicial nominations for the Judging the Environment project of the group Defenders of Wildlife.
Unbroken precedent and recent events bolster the letter from U.S. Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins saying they are "very hopeful" they will "gather the votes needed to confirm" judicial nominee William Kayatta this year ("Election-year politics mar nomination," July 20).
Election-year politics have never blocked consensus nominees like Kayatta, whom the Judiciary Committee approved in an April 19 voice vote to fill Maine's only seat on the six-judge 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
Likely allies include Oklahoma's very conservative home-state Republican senators. They strongly support Robert Bacharach, another stalled consensus nominee who was also approved in a committee voice vote. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., called the blockade "stupid," and said that Bacharach would make a great 10th Circuit nominee for a Republican president.
Other expected supporters include those who joined Maine's senators to provide the 60 votes that Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain needed June 11 to end a filibuster of their home-state judge, Andrew Hurwitz."
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn considers voting against his party to help an Oklahoman get confirmed to federal appeals court (Oklahoman, 07/28/12)
Sen. Tom Coburn said Friday that he hadn’t decided whether he would vote against his party’s leadership Monday to help an Oklahoman get confirmed to federal appeals court.
Coburn, R-Muskogee, strongly supports U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Bacharach’s nomination for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And he said in June the custom of blocking judicial nominations in the last few months of a presidential election year is “stupid.”
In an interview Friday, Coburn said Bacharach is “just a stellar candidate and he ought to get through.” But he said he would weigh over the weekend whether to do that over his party’s objections.
“I want to do the right thing,” he said. “I haven’t decided what that is yet.” ... Attorney Glenn Sugameli, who tracks the judicial process for the Washington-based Judging the Environment Project, said the custom of blocking votes in presidential election years has never applied to noncontroversial nominees like Bacharach.
[Sen.] Graham support (Herald [Rock Hill, SC], 07/24/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "Efforts by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to block all nominees to U.S. Courts of Appeals are even more unprecedented and unjustifiable than explained in Opinions: "Reject the 'Thurmond Rule'" (Los Angeles Times Editorial, July 13). The so-called "Thurmond Rule" Sen. McConnell is claiming to invoke has never prevented Floor votes on Committee-approved consensus, noncontroversial nominations. Those at issue include an unopposed Federal Circuit nominee and two others who are strongly supported by their Oklahoma and Maine home-state Republican senators. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said McConnell's action was "stupid," and that Robert Bacharach would make a great Tenth Circuit nominee for a Republican president. Maine GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins stated that they would support a cloture motion to end any filibuster of First Circuit nominee William Kayatta, Jr. Previously, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and others in the bi-partisan "Gang of 14" defused filibusters and approved President George W. Bush's controversial Circuit Court nominees. Now, Sen. Graham could help confirm consensus nominees by joining with GOP senators who voted for South Carolina-based trial and appellate court judges whom President Obama nominated with Sen. Graham's strong support.
Conservative Ex-Judge Urges Vote on Appellate Nominee (Gavel Grab [Justice at Stake blog], 07/23/12)
Peter Hardin: In a sidebar, the Salt Lake Tribune quoted Glenn Sugameli, an attorney and judicial analyst for Defenders of Wildlife, as saying it would be simple for the Senate to act quickly on the dozen or so federal judicial nominees who have won unanimous approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee. “There are plenty of examples in the past when there were votes on a bunch of people at the same time,” he said.
Inaction on judges affecting Utah: Courts » Stalling by Congress affects even nominees with bipartisan support. (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 07/22/12)
“You are in a situation now where it really is unprecedented in the extent of the obstruction,” said Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney with Judging the Environment, which keeps watch on federal judicial nominations. “It makes no sense. It is even hard to figure out what the motive is at this time, other than to deny confirmations. I think they are clearly trying to leave a lot of these seats open for a different president to fill.” ... The judicial vacancy crisis
Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney whoever oversees a federal judicial nomination project for Judging the Environment, said the Senate could easily act “tomorrow” on the dozen or so federal bench nominees with unanimous support from its Judiciary Committee.
“There are plenty of examples in the past when there were votes on a bunch of people at the same time,” he said. The Senate acted on 10 district court nominees during a single vote in September 2008, for instance — including some who had committee hearings days earlier.
“Clearly there can be, should be and has been Senate action in presidential years to confirm consensus nominees well into September,” he said.
Geraci nomination sent to full Senate (Daily Record [NY], 07/20/12)
Glenn Sugameli, head of the environmental community’s Judging the Environment project on federal judicial nominations, said he believes Judge Geraci will be confirmed; it is just a question of when. “He could be confirmed next week, but unfortunately, I’m also pretty sure that he won’t be,” Sugameli said, noting that when it does, the Senate has been voting on nominees in the order received from the Judiciary Committee, so there are at least a dozen nominees ahead of Judge Geraci. “I think probably sometime in mid- to late September is most likely,” Sugameli said. ... Sugameli called Lee’s negative vote a token protest he has been registering against all Obama nominees since the president’s recess appointments in January. “Lee’s vote does not reflect any opposition on the merits and the same thing when it comes to the floor,” Sugameli said. He added that Republicans are trying to blame the White House for not nominating people to some of the slots but that, as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said four years ago, the fact that the Senate does not have nominees for a few seats is no excuse for not voting on the ones it does have. Sugameli said there were 20 judicial emergencies when Obama took office and the fact that that has increased by more than 50 percent, and that there are 77 vacancies, is scandalous. “Whenever there is a vacancy at all, especially when there is a judicial emergency, it really means cases involving people and companies are not heard in a timely manner,” he added. “Justice delayed is justice denied. It’s an old saying, but it’s true. Every day of delay is absolutely unnecessary.” Sugameli said even Republican senators are calling for movement on the judicial nominations. ... He thinks some of that is behind stalling approval of judicial nominees, which he attributed to a lack of understanding of the importance of filling the vacancies and a desire to keep the positions open until after the election in hopes of filling the seats with right wing judges.
G. Sugameli: Confirmation blockade unprecedented (Sun Journal [ME] , 07/19/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "The Sun Journal editorial "Withholding confirmation” (July 14) eloquently explained how defendants and plaintiffs will suffer from the June 13 decision by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to block every appeals court nominee.
That even applies to consensus nominees whom the Judiciary Committee had previously approved: Maine’s William Kayatta for the First Circuit, Richard Taranto for the Federal Circuit, and Robert Bacharach, a Tenth Circuit nominee who is strongly supported by his very conservative Oklahoma home state Republican senators.
Election-year slowdowns have never prevented floor votes on consensus nominees like these. Unfortunately, the editorial missed that critical difference when it calls McConnell’s unprecedented across-the-board blockade a “routine move to block judicial appointments, which is seen in both parties . . . ”
Indeed, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said McConnell’s action was “stupid,” and that Bacharach would make a great Tenth Circuit nominee for a Republican president.
Maine GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins said they would vote to end any filibuster of Kayatta’s nomination to fill Maine’s only seat on the six-judge appeals court. They could succeed by working with Oklahoma’s senators and others, including those who provided the 60 votes Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain needed on June 11 to end a filibuster of their home-state judge Andrew Hurwitz."
Unjustified opinions (Lake Wylie Pilot [SC], 07/17/12)
"Efforts by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to block all nominees to U.S. Courts of Appeals are even more unprecedented and unjustifiable than explained in Opinions: “Reject the ’Thurmond Rule’” ( Los Angeles Times Editorial, July 13). The so-called “Thurmond Rule” Sen. McConnell is claiming to invoke has never prevented Floor votes on Committee-approved consensus, noncontroversial nominations. Those at issue include an unopposed Federal Circuit nominee and two others who are strongly supported by their Oklahoma and Maine Republican senators. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said McConnell’s action was “stupid,” and that Robert Bacharach would make a great Tenth Circuit nominee for a Republican president. Maine GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins stated that they would support a cloture motion to end any filibuster of First Circuit nominee William Kayatta, Jr. Previously, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and others in the bi-partisan “Gang of 14” defused filibusters and approved President George W. Bush’s controversial Circuit Court nominees. Now, Sen. Graham could help confirm consensus nominees by joining with GOP senators who voted for South Carolina-based trial and appellate court judges whom President Obama nominated with Sen. Graham’s strong support." Lettter to the Editor, from GLENN SUGAMELI, Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife
Robin Rosenbaum confirmed by Senate as U.S. district judge (Daily Business Review [FL], 06/27/12)
Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney for Judging the Environment, a project of Defenders of Wildlife, has been keeping track of the political theater over federal judicial nominations.
"If she had been nominated by any other president, the Senate would have confirmed her long ago," Sugameli said. "Senate Republicans' across-the-board obstruction, delay and blockades of even the most noncontroversial judicial nominees has become so reflexive and irrational that she and those who rely on courts in the Southern District of Florida are actually fortunate that she was belatedly confirmed."
Senators Argue Over End-of-Term Nominees, ‘Thurmond Rule’ (Congressional Quarterly, 06/19/12)
And the Maine senators may want their nominee to get the same consideration Hurwitz received. The Arizona senators “needed the Maine senators to get cloture on Hurwitz,” said Glenn Sugameli, who monitors judicial confirmations as a staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “Are they going to turn around and shaft the Maine senators by not allowing votes on their people?”
Sen. Hutchison Struggles With Facts About Judicial Nominations (Progress Texas, 05/14/12)
Mark Corcoran: "U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison got into a back-and-forth debate via letters to the editor (LTE) in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with Glenn Sugameli (Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife) regarding the issue of judicial nominations. It appears from the back-and-forth that Sen. Hutchison either doesn't understand the issue of judicial nominations and vacancies or is purposefully ignoring the facts of the situation. It began when Sugameli's called out inaccuracies stated by Sen. Hutchison in a LTE published on May 2nd:... Unfortunately for Sen. Hutchison, her response just like her original statement was filled with inaccuracies. Sugameli responded again on May 11th: ... What does it say that one of our Senators who is responsible to fill our vacancies don't understand the issue of judicial nominations?"
Still debating Senate judicial nominations (Fort Worth Star-Telegram [TX], 05/11/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's May 5 letter (See: "U.S. Senate is carrying out constitutional responsibility on judicial nominations" ) compounds the errors I described from her April 26 floor speech, while falsely labeling as "erroneous" my "claim" that the Senate is delaying federal district court nominees. (See also: "Delayed judicial nominees," May 2 letters).
Her speech's stated understanding that "we have confirmed ... roughly the same number of district judges as President George Bush and President Clinton did in their first terms," is contradicted by the numbers I cited: Clinton (151), Bush (142) and Obama (113).
Her letter's claim of Obama "district court nominees confirmed by the Senate (129)" as of the end of March includes all committee-approved nominees through April 26, more than a dozen of whom are still delayed by Senate Republicans.
She also incorrectly claims the Senate will act on three, rather than two, district court nominees (the third is for a circuit court)."
New judge vacancy could further strain Atlanta courts (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 05/09/12)
"Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominations for the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, noted that Georgia's two senators were outspoken in opposing filibusters of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees. In a 2005 joint op-ed in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Chambliss and Isakson wrote “denial of an up-or-down vote goes against basic principles of fairness."
Sugameli said the turnaround is striking, considering that the senators are preventing a hearing, much less a filibuster.
“To pervert that into a situation where you’re essentially demanding the right to make all of the nominations for all of the slots is outrageous, unwarranted, and ... it really hurts the people not only in Georgia but in the rest of the circuit for whom justice delayed is going to continue to be justice denied,” Sugameli said."
Senate GOP continues to delay judicial nominations (Fort Worth Star-Telegram [TX], 05/01/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "On Thursday, when the U.S. Senate finally confirmed David Guaderrama and Gregg Costa as Texas federal district judges, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison stated, "As I understand it, we have confirmed the same -- roughly the same -- number of district judges as President George Bush and President Clinton did in their first terms. To my knowledge, we are not holding up nominations at all."
Neither her understanding nor her knowledge even approaches reality.
As of April 26, in their first terms, the Senate had confirmed 151 Clinton district judges, 142 of President Bush's but only 113 of President Obama's.
Senate Republicans continue to block floor votes on 19 committee-approved nominations. These include nominees whom Texas Sen. John Cornyn and other Judiciary Committee Republicans supported to fill vacancies that the U.S. courts have designated as "judicial emergencies." Seven other nominees cannot even have hearings because GOP senators have not returned the required home-state senator "blue slips."
Once Hutchison is aware of these facts, she could help confirm judges to overburdened courts so justice delayed will not continue to be justice denied."
Letter: judicial vacancies: Obstructionism burdens courts (San Diego Union-Tribune [CA] , 04/28/12)
"Greg Moran’s timely story reports that a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voice vote moved San Diego Superior Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel “one step closer Thursday to a seat on the federal bench.” (“Curiel clears Senate hurdle,” utsandiego.com, April 26.) I agree with law professor Carl Tobias that while Curiel is well-qualified and not a controversial nominee, it might be some months before Curiel’s nomination comes to a full vote.
However, there is no valid reason for such a delay, and compelling reasons why waiting months will harm Californians as justice delayed continues to be justice denied in overburdened courts.
Indeed, all six vacant California district judgeships and all four empty 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seats are among vacancies the U.S. courts have officially designated as “judicial emergencies.”
Partisan obstruction by Senate Republicans continues to block floor votes on 19 committee-approved judicial nominations, including those that home-state GOP senators support to fill emergency vacancies." – Glenn Sugameli, Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife, Washington, D.C.
(Updated) Kayatta appears set for judiciary committee vote (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 03/29/12)
"(Updated as of 3:55 p.m.: Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with the Judging the Environment project on judicial nominations, says that history shows that a non-controversial nominee still can be confirmed into the fall before an election. That would bode well for Kayatta if his confirmation vote doesn't come this spring, because he has the support of Maine GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.)"
Bipartisan effort in works on judicial nominations (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 03/25/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter: "The Sentinel editorial "Road to compromise" on Wednesday urged Congress to break its latest gridlock by passing the bill that was approved by "a bipartisan majority in the Senate."
In another critical area, Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio can build on a bipartisan agreement for belated Senate floor votes by May 7 on 14 consensus judicial nominees. The deal was silent on many others, including nominees who would fill three Florida district-court vacancies and one on the U.S. Court of Appeals that decides Florida cases.
Justice delayed is justice denied, especially for people and businesses affected by 35 current vacancies (three in Florida) that courts have declared judicial emergencies.
Fortunately, Nelson and Rubio have worked together to fill judicial vacancies, including the Court of Appeals confirmation of Florida U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordán. They can reiterate their strong hearing testimony for Robin Rosenbaum's pending district-court nomination, push for prompt Senate consideration of the other nominees, and identify consensus choices for a current and an announced Florida vacancy."
Allow floor votes (Amarillo Globe-News [TX], 03/17/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter: "John Kanelis aptly said that “Whoever replaces (Maine U.S. Sen. Olympia) Snowe or her soon-to-depart colleagues could rip the Senate further apart and create an even greater schism among lawmakers. Or the new senators could restore some of the art of the legislating.”
Indeed, current senators could begin now to restore legislating in a rare area where agreement was already achieved months ago.
Texans would benefit if Senate Republicans agreed to allow floor votes on many judicial nominees whom the highly polarized Judiciary Committee approved unanimously back in 2011. Inexplicably delayed district judge nominees include Gregg J. Costa and David C. Guaderrama, who were jointly recommended by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both R-Texas, to fill two of 34 court-declared judicial emergency vacancies.
Texas federal courts are so overwhelmed and backlogged that immediate bipartisan action is needed in two other areas.
First, Cornyn and Hutchison can push for action on their May 2011 bipartisan bill to create new judgeships in Texas and other border states.
Second, they should quickly identify consensus nominees for seven other Texas federal trial and appellate court judgeships, six of which are also designated judicial emergencies."
W.Va. judge, lawyer blocked in Senate (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 03/14/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter: "The Gazette's March 1 editorial "Paralysis: Political tribalism" laments how "Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, a moderate Republican, is quitting Congress in disgust for the political hostility that prevents compromises to help America."
Incredibly, gridlock even extends to the rare areas where agreement was achieved months ago.
Senate Republicans continue to block Senate floor votes on many judicial nominees whom the highly polarized Judiciary Committee approved unanimously back in 2011. These include two West Virginia women: Gina Groh (Northern District court) and Stephanie Thacker (4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals), who have the strong support of both of the state's senators.
West Virginians are among 130 million Americans who live where justice is delayed by judicial vacancies that could be filled by consensus, pending nominees.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has finally said that absent agreement, he will soon file cloture (anti-filibuster) petitions to obtain floor votes on Groh, Thacker and other judicial nominees who were approved by wide margins in committee."
Opinion, Letter: Thaw freeze on federal judge nominations (Advocate [Baton Rouge, LA], 03/14/12)
Glenn Sugameli: "The Advocate’s March 7 editorial, “Our Views: “Losing voice of moderation,” aptly describes the cause and effect of Maine’s senior Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s retirement: “When compromise is a dirty word, the complex and sometimes ridiculously difficult rules of the Senate make it extremely difficult to pass legislation.”
Bizarrely, unjustifiable obstruction even extends to a rare area where bipartisan agreement was actually achieved months ago: unopposed nominees to fill prolonged judicial vacancies.
Despite support from both of her Louisiana home-state senators, Susie Morgan’s U.S. District Court nomination has been frozen since November, when she was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee.
Unexplained Senate Republican holds continue to block floor votes on Morgan and many other consensus nominees.
It is time for U.S. Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., to demand floor votes on Morgan and other stalled nominees. They should also promptly identify a nominee for the other local district court vacancy and push to fill two vacant seats on the Louisiana-based 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals."
Senate GOP Upset by Harry Reid’s Nominations Tactic (Roll Call, 03/14/12)
Some argue that voting “present” is not a moderate middle ground because cloture requires 60 affirmative votes. “Voting ‘present’ on a cloture motion is the same as voting ‘no,’” said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with Defenders Of Wildlife in Washington. “You need 60 ‘yes’ votes to break a filibuster, and it doesn’t matter how many Senators vote ‘present’ or ‘no.’”
Senate GOP Upset by Harry Reid's Nominations Tactic (Congressional Quarterly, 03/13/12)
"Sen. Lindsey Graham said he plans to vote “present.” “I think I have a pretty good record on being reasonable on judges; this is an unreasonable approach by the Majority Leader,” the South Carolina Republican said. “I’m voting ‘present.’ “I will wind up voting for most of the judges, if not all of them at some point, but I am not going to [allow] the Minority Leader [to be] run over by the Majority Leader. “I am not against the judges, I am against the process, which will hurt the Senate’s ability to operate in a collegial manner in the future,” Graham added.
Some argue that voting “present” is not a moderate middle ground because cloture requires 60 affirmative votes. “Voting ‘present’ on a cloture motion is the same as voting ‘no,’” said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with Defenders Of Wildlife in Washington. “You need 60 ‘yes’ votes to break a filibuster, and it doesn’t matter how many Senators vote ‘present’ or ‘no.’”"
Law: Time for Boozman to speed up judicial nominee (Arkansas Times, 03/06/12)
Max Brantley: "wrote Glenn Sugameli this morning. He tracks federal judicial appointments for Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife. I wondered what he thought about the chances that the unprecedented Republican slowdown of federal judicial confirmations might imperil the committee-approved Senate confirmation of Kris Baker to a federal judgeship in the Eastern District of Arkansas
Good question, said Sugamelli, who provided a wealth of information. It mostly indicates a historic reluctance by the Senate to filibuster routine nominations."
Confirmations blocked (Miami Herald, 03/05/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Florida’s senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson both strongly supported Jordan’s nomination which the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved way back on Oct. 13.
After a bizarre silent filibuster, the Senate forced a floor vote in an overwhelming 89-5 cloture vote on Feb. 13. Two days later, the Senate finally confirmed [Adalberto] Jordan.
Unfortunately, Senate Republicans continue to block floor votes on 20 judicial nominees, most of whom were approved unanimously in committee."
Law: Arkansas judgeship caught in Republicans' holdup (Arkansas Times, 02/28/12)
Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney for Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife, updates me periodically on progress of federal judicial nominations. Today, he notes a news release from Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, who complains that a list of consensus choices for federal judgeships are stacking up. In the past, consensus choices have been routinely approved. No longer. Leahy said more than a dozen with approval in committee have not come to a vote in the Senate.
They include Kris Baker of Little Rock, nominated by President Obama to an opening in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Judge Jordan confirmed 94-5! (Southern District of Florida Blog, 02/15/12)
David Oscar Markus: "Congratulations to the judge and his family. What a great addition to the 11th Circuit. He will be missed on the trial bench... Glenn Sugameli has all of the scoop here, here, and here. [links]
Judge Adalberto Jordan confirmation stalled (briefly?) (Southern District of Florida Blog, 02/13/12)
David Oscar Markus: "So, here's the absurdity of our judicial confirmation process -- the full Senate voted 89-5 to invoke cloture, meaning that Judge Jordan's nomination to the 11th Circuit would finally come to a vote. But then Senator Nelson said that one Senator is holding up the merits vote by demanding 30 more hours of "debate" post-cloture. Senators Leahy and Boxer both then commented how ridiculous such a request was, but that's the way it is. It looks like we'll have wait another 30 hours for Judge Jordan to move up to the 11th. Silliness in our Congress.... (For lots of discussion, see Glenn Sugameli who is closely covering the process)."
Monday night line (Arkansas Times, 02/12/12)
Max Brantley: "JUDICIAL VOTE: Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney at Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife, calls my attention to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's announced intention to call a cloture vote (looks like it will be Wednesday) on an effective Republican filibuster of 17 federal district judge nominations, including Kristine Baker of Little Rock. Reid says the nominations are routine and some are needed in districts with emergency needs. He said Republicans are gumming up the process to embarrass the president. It will be interesting to see where Sen. John "Dr. No" Boozman votes on cloture, given that he nominally supports Baker for the eastern district judgeship in Little Rock. Her nomination has been pending for more than four months."
DC Fiddles While the 11th Circuit Burns. (South Florida Lawyers, 02/09/12)
"Meanwhile, the interminable gridlock in DC that has caught up this once-in-a-lifetime bipartisan consensus nominee for the 11th Circuit drew special attention from Senator Leahy, as passed on by the always in-the-know Glenn Sugameli: ... Sug reports that finally, on Monday, February 13, 2012:
the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Calendar #437, the nomination of Adalberto Jose Jordan, of Florida, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 11th Circuit"
Judge Jordan to be confirmed Monday? (Southern District of Florida Blog, 02/09/12)
David Oscar Markus: "There's a very good chance of that according to Glenn Sugameli, who has been all over the judicial appointment process."
Collins should re-examine actions (York County Coast Star [ME], 01/26/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter: Sen. Susan Collins’ “frustration that Washington cannot seem to set aside partisan bickering.” Partisan bickering is epitomized by Senate Republicans’ blockages of consensus judicial nominees with bipartisan home-state senator support. The Judiciary Committee unanimously approved 16 blocked nominees, including several to fill court-declared judicial emergency vacancies. ... Halligan was nominated to what is now the ninth seat, one of three vacancies on the 11-judge court. The Senate (with Collins’ and Snowe’s support) confirmed four President Bush D.C. Circuit judges including one to the 11th judgeship. Until the Halligan filibuster, no one claimed the D.C. Circuit should only have eight judges."
Collins and Snowe must set partisan politics aside (Seacoastonline [Southern ME & NH], 01/25/12)
Glenn Sugameli Letter: "Sen. Susan Collins’ “frustration that Washington cannot seem to set aside partisan bickering.” Partisan bickering is epitomized by Senate Republicans’ blockages of consensus judicial nominees with bipartisan home-state senator support. The Judiciary Committee unanimously approved 16 blocked nominees, including several to fill court-declared judicial emergency vacancies. Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee said, “There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t have confirmed (his state’s nominee) before we got out” in December. Working with Sen. Lee, Sen. Collins and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, could build on their recent efforts that finally confirmed Maine’s first female federal judge, Nancy Torresen. Collins and Snowe also must fill Maine’s First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judgeship. As Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., recently stressed, the Senate needs to fill vacant judgeships “soon. I certainly hope we don’t have to wait until after the election.” Collins should re-examine her stated reason for joining a December partisan filibuster of Caitlin Halligan, Obama’s only D.C. circuit nominee: “That particular seat has been vacant for six years and the work load has declined during that period of time.” Workload depends on how many judges a court currently has, not which “particular seat” (judge) a nominee would replace. Halligan was nominated to what is now the ninth seat, one of three vacancies on the 11-judge court. The Senate (with Collins’ and Snowe’s support) confirmed four President Bush D.C. circuit judges including one to the 11th judgeship. Until the Halligan filibuster, no one claimed the D.C. circuit should only have eight judges."
Johnny Isakson, Saxby Chambliss send judicial signals to White House (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 01/24/12)
Jim Galloway column quotes "necessary background " including: Glenn Sugameli, who closely tracks judicial nominations for the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, cited the op-ed in charging the senators with hypocrisy.
“They’ve said that [nominees deserve a vote] over and over again, ” Sugameli said of Georgia’s two senators. “Well, to my knowledge, the Constitution hasn’t changed. It seems what’s happening is a change of their position that’s all about partisan politics and a Democratic president.”
Letter: Senators Must Work To Fix Unprecedented Lack of Judges (Ledger [Lakeland, FL], 01/24/12)
Glenn Sugameli: "GOP objections aren't based on the quality of Obama's nominees." The Ledger's description of obstructed executive nominees applies even more so to judicial nominees who are strongly supported by their Republican senators, regarding the editorial "Recess Appointments: Don't Stall President's Nominees" [Jan. 16]. As the Senate left until late January, Senate Republicans continued to block floor votes on consensus judicial nominees. Both home-state senators support each nominee. As Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee said: "There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't have confirmed [his state's nominee] him before we got out." The Judiciary Committee unanimously approved 16 of the delayed nominees. These include Florida federal district court Judge Adalberto Jordan, who would fill one of two 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacancies the courts have declared judicial emergencies. Florida's senators also must soon follow through on their pledge to jointly propose candidates to fill five Florida district court vacancies (three current, including two emergencies, and two future). For example, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., recently stressed the "need" to fill his state's six vacant judgeships: "soon. I certainly hope we don't have to wait until after the election." Nonpartisan calls from Florida federal judges, Supreme Court justices and the American and Federal Bar Associations to fill empty seats confirm the problem. An unprecedented lack of judges means that justice delayed continues to be justice denied. Florida senators Marco Rubio [R] and Bill Nelson [D] should work with Sen. Lee to ensure floor votes for Judge Jordan and other committee-approved judicial nominees, while heeding Sen. Toomey's call to identify nominees and fill vacancies soon.
Judicial vacancies need to be filled (Las Vegas Sun, 01/17/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "The Sun editorial’s conclusion that “Republican opposition isn’t based on the quality of the nominees or their experience,” applies to President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees as well as his four executive branch recess appointees.
Senate Republicans blocked in late December floor votes on every pending judicial nominee. All 19 are backed by both of their home-state senators, including Nevada’s Miranda Du, who is also supported by Republican governor (and former federal judge) Brian Sandoval, as well as the Republican lieutenant governor and mayor of Reno.
Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee said, “There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t have confirmed (his state’s nominee) before we got out.” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., stressed the “need” to fill his state’s judgeships “soon. I certainly hope we don’t have to wait until after the election.”
Nevada Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller should join Sens. Lee, Toomey, and others to solve the judicial vacancy crisis by filling judgeships, including court-declared judicial emergencies on the appeals court that includes Nevada."
McCaskill, Blunt should help get judicial nominees Senate votes (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 01/15/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Senate Republicans repeatedly blocked consensus judicial nominees long before President Barack Obama's executive branch appointments that the editorial discussed. Justice delayed is justice denied, as obstruction has resulted in unprecedented federal judicial vacancies. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, however, support Missouri judicial nominees Mary Phillips and Brian Wimes, who are among 19 awaiting floor votes. After the Senate left until late January, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee said about his state's nominee: "There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't have confirmed him before we got out." Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., stressed the need to fill his state's judicial vacancies: "We need people in these seats soon. I certainly hope we don't have to wait until after the election." These recent statements from very conservative Republican senators suggest that Mr. Blunt and Ms. McCaskill could work with Mr. Lee, Mr. Toomey and others to ensure floor votes for committee-approved judicial nominees."
Sugameli: Filibusters leave courts short-handed (MetroWest Daily News [MA], 01/12/12)
Glenn Sugameli: "An unprecedented federal judicial vacancy crisis means justice delayed is justice denied. Unnamed Republican senators’ unexplained objections have denied floor votes to 19 pending judicial nominees. All are supported by both home-state senators, and almost all were approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee. After the Senate left until late January, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee said about his state’s nominee: “There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t have confirmed him before we got out.” In December, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) disingenuously or ignorantly claimed that he joined a partisan filibuster of Caitlin Halligan, President Obama’s only D.C. Circuit nominee, because “the D.C. Circuit has a comparatively small caseload.” Halligan, however, was nominated to fill the ninth seat, one of three vacancies on the 11 judge court. The Senate confirmed four President Bush D.C. Circuit nominees including Thomas Griffith to be the 11th D.C. Circuit judge. Until the Halligan filibuster, no one claimed the DC Circuit should only have eight judges."
Judge vacancies delay justice (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 01/09/12)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Regardless of one's views on the opinion by Jim Lees ("Newt the panderer," Dec. 22) and the editorial ("Eye of Newt: Gingrich absurdity, Dec. 18) condemning attacks on judges, everyone should agree that federal courts suffer from a separate problem: a prolonged vacancy crisis.
Senate Republicans' unexplained and unjustifiable objections repeatedly have prevented floor votes on consensus judicial nominees to fill judicial emergencies and other protracted vacancies.
West Virginia's district court nominee Gina Groh and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Stephanie Thacker are among many blocked until at least late January, despite unanimous Judiciary Committee approval and support from their home-state U.S. senators.
Despite nonpartisan calls from Supreme Court justices, the American and Federal Bar Associations, and others to fill empty seats, lack of judges means that justice delayed continues to be justice denied."
This Week on JudicialNominations.org (American Constitution Society Blog, 12/16/11)
"Continuing criticism of the Senate’s recent filibusters has come from ... numerous editorial boards" [linking to Judging the Enironment wbsite's compilation].
Myths And Falsehoods About Judicial Nominee Caitlin Halligan (Media Matters for America, 12/02/11)
"Defenders of Wildlife's Judging the Environment project has compiled quotations from sitting senators who have said or suggested that it is unconstitutional to filibuster judicial nominees. Some of those senators have maintained that position during the Obama administration. [JudgingTheEnvironment.org, accessed 12/1/11]" [and many other links to Judging the Environment website]
Leahy Accuses GOP Senators of Delaying Judicial Confirmations (Gavel Grab [Justice at Stake blog], 08/03/11)
Also critical was Glenn Sugameli of Judging the Environment. “The American Bar Association President’s July 28, 2011 letter to Senate Leaders urged up-or-down votes on all unopposed nominees before the Senate left town until after Labor Day,” Sugameli said in a statement. “Instead, Senate Republican obstruction perpetuates the judicial vacancy crisis by preventing votes on many nominees to the federal bench, regardless of need, bi-partisan support, and qualifications.”
YOUR VIEW: It is Jeff Sessions who misses point on filibustering nominees (Birmingham News [AL] , 06/06/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: It is U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions' June 2 letter, "Senate's duty is to block judicial nominees like Liu," that "misses an important point," not the News' May 26 editorial he criticizes.
Sessions falsely claims Goodwin Liu "believes the Constitution can be effectively rewritten by judges" who are "empowered to redefine the Constitution to advance the political agendas they favor." That claim is belied by Liu's record, his testimony in response to questions from Sessions and others, and the broad support for Liu's nomination from leading conservatives.
Ironically, Sessions seems to believe individual senators are empowered to redefine the Constitution to advance their political agendas. In opposing Democratic filibusters, he insisted "there is no doubt the Founders understood that confirmation of a judicial nomination requires only a simple majority vote," so filibusters of nominees were in "violation of the Constitution." Yet Sessions voted to filibuster Liu, even though the Constitution was not amended by the "Gang of 14" senators' agreement he describes.
Same as voting ‘No’ (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 05/25/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has repeatedly insisted, as he did in 2003, that “Every judicial nominee who reaches the Senate floor deserves an up or down vote. That’s fair and what the Constitution requires.”
On May 19, however, Hatch’s vote on a filibuster against Goodwin Liu’s long-delayed judicial nomination helped deny an up or down vote that Hatch insists “the Constitution requires.”
Matt Canham reported that Hatch “was the only senator to vote ‘present’ on Thursday. He refuses to vote to block a nomination from going forward but didn’t want his vote misconstrued as supporting Liu’s nomination.” (“Lee cites Alito criticism in voting against judicial nomination,” Tribune, May 20)
But as columnist Jamie Dupree explained: “There’s only one problem with that argument — voting ‘Present’ on a cloture motion is the same as voting ‘No.’ You need 60 ‘Yes’ votes to break a filibuster — and it doesn’t matter how many senators vote ‘Present’ or ‘No.’’”
‘I would never filibuster any president’s judicial nominee’ (Washington Monthly, 05/19/11)
Steve Benen: Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney at Judging the Environment, and my go-to guy on matters related to judicial nominees, said in a statement, “The depths of partisan, unprincipled hypocrisy were plumbed by the many Republican Senators who voted to filibuster Goodwin Liu’s nomination after denouncing all such filibusters and insisting the Constitution requires up-or-down votes for all judicial nominees.”
GOP On Track To Block Obama Judicial Nominee For First Time (Fox News, 05/19/11)
A expert in the area of federal judicial selection, attorney Glenn Sugameli, questioned both Thune and Isakson this time around. "Do Sens. Thune and Isakson think the Constitution has been amended recently to allow filibusters of judicial nominees? They insisted the Constitution requires up or down votes for all judicial nominees in major 2005 Floor speeches, which Sen. Isakson reiterated two weeks ago."
Key Senators to Support Filibuster of Goodwin Liu (National Law Journal, 05/18/11)
Liu’s supporters said the Republicans are contradicting statements they’ve made against judicial filibusters since at least the George W. Bush administration. Glenn Sugameli, who follows judicial nominations for Defenders of Wildlife, pointed to a statement Isakson made two weeks ago as reported by the conservative Web site CNSNews.com. “As I said repeatedly during the years President Bush was in office, I believe every president deserves an up-or-down vote on their judicial nominees,” Isakson told the Web site. “In addition, the U.S. Constitution says it is the Senate’s responsibility to give ‘advice and consent’ to the president’s judicial nominees, and the way to comply with the Constitution is to have an up-or-down vote on these nominees.”
Letter: Cornyn has flip-flopped (Amarillo Globe-News [TX], 05/15/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "Texas GOP U.S. Sen. John Cornyn almost single-handedly pushed to filibuster a President Obama nominee with bipartisan support to fill a Rhode Island U.S. trial court seat. Cornyn's position directly violated his 2004 insistence that "the U.S. Constitution demands" up-or-down votes on judges. In contrast, 11 Republicans voted to end the filibuster.
Strangely, Cornyn denied the Amarillo Globe-News' editorial description of how this threatened filibuster constituted a flip-flop.
Cornyn's explanation rejects Original Intent and agrees with those who say the Constitution should be interpreted in light of modern health care and other situations the Founders did not foresee. "I argued then, and still believe today, that filibusters of judicial nominees are not what the Founders intended. Yet, the Founders did not foresee the systematic partisan obstruction of judges nominated by our former president."
But does Sen. Cornyn seriously believe he can deny a "vote the U.S. Constitution demands" because of recent actions by "a minority of senators"?
Cornyn's filibuster also violated the "precedent" he relied on.
The filibusters Sen. Cornyn cited were limited to some of President George W. Bush's appeals court nominees, all of whom lacked any bipartisan support in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In voting to end Cornyn's filibuster, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander explained that a Senate filibuster has never blocked confirmation of a nominee for 677 district court seats. Indeed, trial-level decisions do not even bind other judges."
Senate Vote Cleared for Embattled Nominee (Gavel Grab [Justice at Stake blog], 05/06/11)
Regarding the scheduling of Senate action on Chen’s nomination, Glenn Sugameli of Defenders of Wildlife said, “This is important but not particularly surprising; the 63-33 cloture vote on Jack McConnell forestalled a widely anticipated filibuster against Edward Chen’s long-delayed nomination to the Northern District of California.” Sugameli, an attorney, has headed the environmental community’s Judging the Environment project.
Snowe, Collins lauded for judicial nomination stances (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 05/05/11)
Still, the Maine senators’ decision to vote against their GOP leadership’s attempted filibuster “exemplified consistency and integrity,” says Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with the Washington-based Defenders of Wildlife’s Judging the Environment project on judicial nominations. Their vote to end the filibuster is an example of helping prevent the stalling of Obama judicial nominees, even if Collins and Snowe were opposed to the nomination, Sugameli says.
Judgeship logjam (Kansas City Star, 04/25/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "The federal judicial vacancy crisis has worsened as empty judgeships have almost doubled since President Barack Obama took office. In 2009, 10 Republican senators joined Democrats in voting to end the filibuster of Obama’s first appeals court nominee. Since then, Republican filibuster threats have even held up many nominees to trial-level district courts, whose decisions do not bind other judges. Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he may filibuster a district nominee who has bipartisan support both in his home-state of Rhode Island and in the Judiciary Committee, where Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has voted for him three times. Soon, the Senate will decide whether or not to allow yes-or-no votes on committee-approved nominees for empty judgeship."
JUDICIAL OPENINGS: Senate filibusters could create a crisis (Idaho Statesman, 04/22/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: "“Federal judge, 103, still hearing cases in Kansas” (April 10) explained how U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown’s “service also epitomizes how the federal court system keeps working even as litigation steadily increases, new judgeships remain rare, and judicial openings go unfilled for months or years.” Indeed, an Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts spokesman said, “Senior judges keep the federal court system afloat given the rising caseloads.”
In 2005, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and then-Sen. Larry Craig “continue(d) to stress that the Constitution requires the Senate to hold up-or-down votes on all nominees.”
Recently, however, threatened filibusters by some Senate Republicans have created a crisis by blocking up-or-down votes to fill judicial vacancies. Indeed, empty judgeships have almost doubled since President Obama took office.
Soon, senators will vote on filibusters with unprecedented reach. One targeted nominee has bipartisan support both in his home state of Rhode Island and in the Judiciary Committee, where Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) voted for him three times. This and other filibusters would even extend to nominees for 677 trial level district court seats, whose decisions do not control other judges."
Judicial nominees (Fort Worth Star-Telegram [TX], 04/09/11)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor:
"'Advice and consent' means voting, not obstructing" (See: Editorial, Tuesday) aptly focused on Texas Sen. John Cornyn's statement that he might support a filibuster of a trial court nominee despite Cornyn's prior insistence that "the U.S. Constitution demands" up-or-down votes on nominees.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison also stated repeatedly on the Senate floor that requiring 60 votes to end a filibuster against a judicial nominee would be "changing the Constitution."
So far, the actions by Cornyn and Hutchison have been consistent with their words; they have never voted against ending a filibuster of a judicial nominee.
Now, will either senator violate what they have insisted the Constitution requires by blocking an up-or-down vote on whether to confirm a lower-court judge?
Sugameli: Filling vacant judgeships (Milford Daily News [MA], 02/16/11)
Letter: Your editorial, "Judge shortage" (Feb. 15), pointed out that "on the federal bench, there are 101 vacancies, nearly double the number when Obama took office." Justice delayed is truly justice denied, as people increasingly face massive court backlogs. Indeed, the U.S. Courts determined 44 current vacancies to be emergencies, and there are widespread nonpartisan calls to solve the judicial vacancy crisis. Sen. Scott Brown recently joined with Sen. John Kerry in confirming Denise Casper to the federal district court for Massachusetts, and in approving a ban on unexplained secret holds that blocked many nominees. Together, the Massachusetts' bipartisan U.S. Senate delegation could help ensure that nominees to fill judgeships receive timely Floor votes." GLENN SUGAMELI, Staff attorney, Judging the Environment
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
Is a GOP House Better for Obama Nominees? (Atlantic, 11/15/10)
"TPM's Brian Beutler makes a counterintuitive point: now that Republicans control the House, President Obama's nominees might have an easier time making their ways through the Senate. ... "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."
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 (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."
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
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)."
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
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
Senate delays two nominations to federal courts (Orange County Register [CA] , 08/07/10)
Glenn Sugameli, a lawyer, said he thought Liu and Chen “will be renominated in September, and the Democrats will make a strong push for a floor vote.”
Letters to the Editor: Not All Senators Display Hypocrisy (Richmond Times-Dispatch [VA], 12/02/09)
Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli- published letter: Your editorials, "Flipping Out" and "Do Unto," unjustly included blanket condemnation of "the Senate's Republicans and Democrats" for hypocritically flip-flopping on filibusters of judicial nominees, and missed the ultimate irony displayed by some senators. Ten Republican senators from across the political spectrum consistently voted to end a filibuster against Judge David Hamilton's nomination to a federal appeals court. It is also not hypocritical for Democrats who supported specific filibusters to oppose one against Hamilton, who was selected with the strong approval of his home-state senators, including Richard Lugar, the senior Republican in the Senate. "Do Unto" recognizes that in 2005, "The GOP . . . asserted that filibusters of nominations implicitly violated the Constitution." For example, Sen. James Inhofe declared that such filibusters are "contrary to our oath to support and defend the Constitution." The missing irony is the latest explanation by Inhofe and other senators: They opposed Hamilton because they feared he might change the Constitution, but by filibustering him these senators violated what they insisted the Constitution requires.
Despite hypocrisy, filibuster ended (Roanoke Times [VA], 11/24/09)
Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli published Letter to the Editor: "In the ultimate hypocrisy, 29 senators who claimed not to trust a judicial nominee to interpret the Constitution tried to block him by violating what they insisted the Constitution requires.
However, 10 Republican senators from across the country and the political spectrum joined a successful vote to end the filibuster of President Obama's first appellate court nominee, David Hamilton."
COURTS: Confirmation shifts 4th Circuit toward Democrats' appointees (Greenwire, 11/10/09)
Mountaintop removal case shows need to fill 4th Circuit vacancies: "Only about half of the court voted in this case," said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with Defenders of Wildlife. "The point of an en banc rehearing is to allow the full court to weigh in on a matter, and the fact that you have this many vacancies and this many recusals on such a significant case shows how the process isn't working." Wilkinson's minority opinion suggests the potential for similar cases to have a different outcome with new additions to the court, Sugameli said.
"All you need is to get to seven. Three new judges could make a difference, let alone five," he said.
Democrats Have Better Filibuster Record (Richmond Times-Dispatch [VA], 04/09/09)
"CORRESPONDENT OF THE DAY" Judging the Environment's Glenn Sugameli: "The recent editorial, "Busting Loose," unjustifiably equates changes of position by Senate Republicans and Democrats on filibusters of judicial nominees, claiming that both have "executed a U-turn on filibusters."
GOP senators recently threatened to filibuster President Barack Obama's judicial nominees. These include many senators who previously claimed that such filibusters are always improper and unconstitutional. For example, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) repeatedly pledged in 2005 that "I would never filibuster any president's judicial nominee, period. I might vote against them, but I will always see they come to a vote."
In contrast, Senate Democrats have not altered their position on the ability to filibuster, including their opposition to the nuclear option to ban judicial nominee filibusters. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently explained that he hoped Republicans would not filibuster Obama's judicial nominees, but he added that it was their prerogative to do so.
Moreover, it was Republican nuclear option supporters who tried to rewrite the Constitution, which gives the Senate the power to make its own rules. The nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian, conservative former Republican senators, more than 600 editorial boards, and other objective thinkers agreed: The fact that the Constitution does not require filibusters does not mean they are forbidden."
Senate Dems Still Willing and Able to Block Anti-Environmental nominees (E/The Environmental Magazine, 06/03/05)
Glenn Sugameli of Earthjustice: "The decision of moderate Senators to reach a compromise that allows them to step back from the brink of all-out partisan 'nuclear' warfare in the United States Senate is a victory for democracy, and for our nation's protections for clean air, clean water, and special natural places. The fact that William Myers will not be allowed to be confirmed shows how important environmental protections have become to the issue of maintaining fair and independent courts."
Good News: Filibuster Deal Means No Vote On William Myers (Monitor, 05/25/05)
"The decision of moderate senators to reach a compromise that allows them to step back from the brink of all-out partisan 'nuclear' warfare in the United States Senate is a victory for democracy, and for our nation's protections for clean air, clean water, and special natural places," said Glenn Sugameli, who heads the Judging the Environment project for the nonprofit law firm Earthjustice.
"The fact that William Myers will not be allowed to be confirmed shows how important environmental protections have become to the issue of maintaining fair and independent courts," Sugameli said.... "Earthjustice will continue to strongly oppose the nominations of Pryor, Owen, and Brown, and urge the Senate to reject them," Sugameli said. "Based on their records, these nominees still do not deserve lifetime seats on the federal bench."
Senate Deal on Judges May Help Environment (Bush Greenwatch, 05/25/05)
Analysis of deal to avoid "nuclear option" by Doug Kendall, executive director of Community Rights Counsel (CRC), who has "teamed with Earthjustice to lead "Judging the Environment," a campaign to highlight the environmental stakes in the battle over judicial nominations."
Clear Path for Some Nominees (Los Angeles Times, 05/24/05)
Myers, who was chosen for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, [came] under attack for his record on environmental rather than social issues. Though he could have brought ideological balance to a liberal-leaning court, his nomination did not garner unquestioning support among Senate Republicans. A former mining industry lawyer and the top Interior Department lawyer from 2001 to 2003, he had been ardently opposed by nearly every prominent environmental group, including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation.
Maine Is Focus of Senate Battle on Filibuster (New York Times, 05/06/05)
Conservatives here have discovered a new patron saint this spring: Thomas Brackett Reed of Portland, a congressman from 1877 to 1889 who earned the nickname Czar Reed for helping abolish a type of filibuster practiced in the House.
Environmental, Native Groups Support Right to Filibuster (Environment News Service, 04/29/05)
Earthjustice, the nonprofit, public interest law firm and one of the groups that signed the letter, said that "the handful of President Bush's nominees who have been blocked by filibusters includes several whose records prove that they have consistently favored corporate interests over clean air and safe drinking water."
Right-Wingers Running Full Court Press (Environmental News Network (ENN), 04/28/05)
Earthjustice Executive Director Buck Parker Commentary on right-wing attack against fair courts, including nuclear option, Ninth Circuit split and William Myers' nomination.
NOMINATIONS: Bush sends blocked judges list back to the Senate (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 02/15/05)
Article on resubmission of blocked nominees: "[Bush] apparently has no intention of trying to heal the wounds he caused when he nominated these individuals the first time around, after it became clear that their records showed a pattern of clear and unjustifiable hostility to environmental protections," said Earthjustice attorney Glenn Sugameli.
Congressional Challenges in 2005: Judicial Nominations (Environmental News Network (ENN), 02/14/05)
Commentary by Earthjustice's Buck Parker: "For the first time, the importance of protecting the environment has become a major issue in federal judicial selection. ... As an organization founded to protect the public's right to enforce environmental laws, it is critical that Earthjustice work to protect access to the courts and prevent the confirmation of judges whose records indicate that they are likely to abuse their offices and to undermine the nation's environmental laws."
SENATE RULES: 'Nuclear Option' hinges on GOP moderates, senior senators (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 01/26/05)
"The other decisive factor should be, and presumably would be, the other interest groups who have things they would like the Senate to accomplish this year that would require bipartisan cooperation," said Earthjustice attorney Glenn Sugameli. "If the nuclear option is triggered, none of them would be possible."
NOMINATIONS: Frist files for cloture vote on Myers nomination (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 07/19/04)
"It's being used as an issue to try and motivate the base," said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney for Earthjustice, which opposes the nomination. "It's one that we are confident we'll win; he will not become a judge."
Frist Sets Stage For Next Big Debate Over Judicial Nominee (Congress Daily, 07/16/04)
Earthjustice Executive Director Buck Parker on William Myers' nomination: "Mr. Myers sees nothing wrong with using his public office to advance his private agenda, which matches that of the mining and beef industries who employed him for most of his adult life."
Partisan Vote Advances Bush Judge Nominee (Los Angeles Times, 04/02/04)
All 10 Republicans on the panel voted in favor of William G. Myers III, a longtime lawyer for the mining and cattle industries, while all nine Democrats voted against him — setting the stage for a filibuster when the nomination reaches the Senate floor.
The dangers of push polls (Washington Times, 12/19/03)
Letter to the Editor by Earthjustice's James Cox in response to Andres op-ed column claiming that voters were upset with Democrats obstruction of judicial nominees.
Reality Check on Judicial Nominations (Washington Post, 10/29/03)
Letter to the Editor by Earthjustice's Rhett Millsaps responding to Robert Novak's op-ed opposing filibusters on judicial nominees.
Senate's July Work to Kick Off With Cloture Vote on Nominee (Congressional Quarterly, 06/27/03)
CQ Today: Wolski also has drawn fire from environmental groups who say he has spent most of his professional life fighting environmental protections, specializing in bringing property rights challenges to environmental and land-use restrictions.
"He is a self-professed, extreme ideologue on the very issues he would be deciding as a Court of Federal Claims judge," said Glenn Sugameli, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice, previously the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. "This is a court for which he is uniquely unqualified."
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY: Frist filibuster proposal to undergo first test (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 06/24/03)
"Changing Senate rules in order to raise the confirmation rate from the current 98 percent to 100 percent would be like banning bats from all baseball games to guarantee that every game will be a no-hitter," said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney with Earthjustice. "The Senate needs to retain the ability to block extreme anti-environmental candidates for lifetime judgeships, or it might as well be a rubber stamp.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY: Frist filibuster change would speed action on nominees (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 05/12/03)
"Earthjustice and the major national environmental groups have opposed only a handful of nominations that have been approved and a few that have been pending -- including Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen and Carolyn Kuhl -- and that's because we think their records show they are the worst of the worst -- the ones with the most egregious records on environmental issues -- and therefore shouldn't be entrusted with lifetime appointments," said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney with Earthjustice.
Liberals to choose their battles on judge nominees (Recorder, 11/12/02)
Article quotes Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli on impact of change in control of the Senate on judicial nominees, and filibusters as a plausible weapon against those nominees who are not qualified to serve.
Liberals Bracing for Quick Judicial Action by Bush (Los Angeles Times, 11/07/02)
Los Angeles Times quotes Earthjustice's Glenn Sugameli on concerns about judges with extreme views that threaten basic protections for the environment and public health."
Senate Panel Quizzes Hatch Staffer (Associated Press, 08/01/02)
Earthjustice on nomination of Sen. Orrin Hatch's staffer Lawrence Block to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims: Block, while working for Hatch, advocated legislation that would "redefine takings in a manner that would threaten a wide range of safety, health, environmental, civil rights, and other protections. An ultraconservative interpretation of the Takings Clause could be extremely damaging, redefining property rights at the expense of neighboring property, public health, and the environment."