Judging the Environment In The News
Links to Articles, Editorials, Commentary, Blogs, Radio and TV about the Judging the Environment project
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LAW: Trump gets first chance to shape powerful appeals court (Greenwire, 07/11/17)
"Judge Janice Rogers Brown will leave the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Aug. 31... "She was one of the most controversial and opposed by the environmental community of the Bush nominees," said Glenn Sugameli, an environmental lawyer who founded the Judging the Environment project.... Sugameli said environmentalists' fears about Brown were borne out in her activity on the D.C. Circuit.
"The problem was what was identified when she was nominated, which was her unwarranted hostility to basic environmental safeguards and other government actions," he said.
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.)"
Records of Obama's Four D.C. Circuit Picks Offer Minimal Insight on Environmental Views (BNA, 02/12/14)
Glenn Sugameli, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife who runs Judging the Environment, a project that monitors federal judicial selection, told Bloomberg BNA that judges tend to relate to their former clients. From the perspective of environmental groups, the four new judges may not be the ideal picks because they don't have extensive backgrounds working for public interest groups, he said.
“These are not necessarily the ideal nominees if the question is: Do we want to win cases?” Sugameli said. “But they are pretty much ideal if we want them to follow the facts, follow the Constitution and understand what's at stake.”
Echoing sentiments expressed by other observers, Sugameli said the four Obama appointees are well-regarded in the legal world, and they understand administrative law, which is a large part of environmental law. They are dedicated to spending the time and effort to decide complex environmental cases, he said.
“There's very good reason to believe that the decisions they write or join will be carefully written and will actually examine all the issues,” he said.
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."
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."
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"
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."
D.C. Circuit Nominee Pillard Likely to Face Toughest Road to Confirmation (Congressional Quarterly, 09/11/13)
John Gramlich: "Glenn Sugameli, an attorney with the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife and a close observer of judicial nominees, said in an email that Grassley’s questions about “isolated, unattributed partial quotations” from Pillard were “efforts to trick Wilkins.” A liberal legal advocate privately told CQ Roll Call that the questions appeared to be an attempt to turn one of Obama’s D.C. Circuit nominees against another."
COURTS: EPA air cases on deck as Obama appointee joins D.C. Circuit bench (Greenwire, 09/06/13)
Srinivasan is "clearly very bright, extremely qualified and he has a mass of experience," said Glenn Sugameli, who tracks the D.C. Circuit for Defenders of Wildlife. "And he's relatively young. He is in a position where he could have a big influence on the court."
Standing is a "very broad, sweeping issue," Sugameli said. "It tends to be more of a potential constitutional barrier to Congress' clear intent to give citizens the right to enforce environmental statutes. ... So those cases can be critical."
D.C. Circuit -- at heart of nomination battle -- has handed major victories to EPA (Greenwire, 08/26/13)
Glenn Sugameli, who tracks the D.C. Circuit for Defenders of Wildlife, said EPA should do well at the D.C. Circuit because of the Supreme Court's ruling in 1984's Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. The ruling said that as long as EPA interpreted the law reasonably in crafting regulations, courts should defer to the agency.
But opinions like Kavanaugh's in the CSAPR case, Sugameli said, can have an outsized impact. "The major issue is, even if you have a series of pretty good or decent opinions, one really bad opinion can be so bad on the facts or so bad on the law that you're inviting a series of challenges," Sugameli said. Environmentalists argue that Obama must fill the vacancies on the circuit so rulings like the CSAPR decision are reviewed by the circuit en banc, meaning before all of the circuit's judges. After a decision, the losing party may petition for an en banc review. It takes the votes of a majority of active judges on the circuit to grant such a request. Sugameli and other environmentalists contend that if the court had been more balanced at the time, the CSAPR decision would have earned en banc review because of Rogers' forceful dissent. "You don't have enough judges to have the mass that's required to rein in very extreme opinions," Sugameli said.
Nonpartisan Judgeship Plan Meets Partisan Senate Debate over D.C. Circuit (Congressional Quarterly, 08/19/13)
The “one source of impartial expertise” on court caseloads is the Judicial Conference, said Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with the environmental advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife ...l. The Republican proposal to shrink the D.C. Circuit ignores the conference’s nonpartisan recommendations and is a partisan attempt to prevent Obama’s nominees from being confirmed, Sugameli said, calling the plan “absurd on its face.” ... “I don’t know what people like Cornyn and Cruz and Flake are going to do,” Sugameli said. “They have severe needs in their states.”
Millett’s nomination clears committee hurdle, now heads to full Senate (Legal Newsline, 08/01/13)
JESSICA M. KARMASEK: "Glenn Sugameli, who has headed the Judging the Environment judicial nominations project since 2001, said Thursday Severino’s reliance on a selective quote from an unnamed judge ignores the fact that the court needs all of its 11 active judgeships, as reiterated by the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Judgeship Recommendations and Draft Legislation in April. “Ms. Severino absurdly claims that filling existing vacancies would be ‘a court packing plan designed to turn a highly regarded court into a political rubber stamp for President Obama’s unconstitutional regulatory rampage.’ She cannot explain how this claim relates to Patricia Millett’s nomination, which no senator opposes on the merits and which is endorsed by Robin S. Conrad, a retired Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice-President who had a 30-year tenure at the National Chamber Litigation Center, the public policy law firm of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States,” Sugameli said in a statement. The Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform owns Legal Newsline. “If the GOP were ‘applying the same rules Democrats used,’ as Ms. Severino claims, that would require approving President Obama’s three pending D.C. Circuit nominees for a total of four, including one to the court’s 11th seat, just as a Democratic Senate did for President George W. Bush,” Sugameli said."
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: Republicans escalate opposition to D.C. Circuit nominee (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 07/25/13)
Glenn Sugameli of Defenders of Wildlife said Republicans may stick to criticizing the nominations together because they have yet to dig up anything substantial about them as individuals. "The focus has tended to be on the group, and I think that is because they don't have anything believable against Millett and anything meaningful against Pillard," he said. But he predicted Republicans may back down as they take flak from editorial boards and others over their intransigence. Independent fact checkers have said Republicans' court packing claims are inaccurate and misleading. "As it becomes higher-profile," he said, "I don't see how they stick with this position."
Environmentalists Back D.C. Circuit Nominees Despite Wilkins' EPA Record (Inside EPA, 06/04/13)
“The [confirmation] fight is going to be over the need to slash the court by a third,” says a source with the Judging the Environment Project, a group that tracks judicial nominees' environmental records.... The source with the Judging the Environment project says filling the slots is important, citing an April 5 report from the Judicial Conference of the United States, which found that the court needs 11 judges to issue timely and well-reasoned decisions.
The source adds all three nominees have “an enormous amount of experience” with administrative law and constitutional law, which are the underpinning of the environmental statutes. The source said there is little information out there that is critical of the nominees."
COURTS: Obama nominates 3 to D.C. Circuit (Greenwire, 06/04/13)
"The Grassley bill is a joke," said Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominations for Defenders of Wildlife. "The D.C. Circuit has an exclusive or leading role in upholding or gutting a broad range of national environmental safeguards."
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: Confirmation vote for D.C. Circuit nominee possible by tomorrow (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 05/22/13)
"Timely and well-reasoned decisions on national environmental, health, safety, consumer, labor and other safeguards require filling all four vacancies on the 11-member D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals," said Glenn Sugameli of the 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."
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."
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: Senate Judiciary panel approves D.C. Circuit nominee (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 02/15/13)
"The D.C. Circuit is the nation's second most important court, with exclusive or primary authority to decide whether a broad range of national environmental and health safeguards will be struck down or upheld and enforced," said Glenn Sugameli, who follows judicial appointments at Defenders of Wildlife.
He added it is "essential" for Obama to fill the vacancies.
"Obama is the first president in many decades with no D.C. Circuit judges," Sugameli said. "In contrast, a Democratic Senate confirmed four of President George W. Bush's nominees, including to the 10th and 11th seats."
COURTS: Liberals push Obama to restock powerful D.C. Circuit (Greenwire, 02/06/13)
Jeremy P. Jacobs: "The D.C. Circuit is the second most important court for the environment in the country after the Supreme Court," said Glenn Sugameli, who tracks judicial nominations for Defenders of Wildlife. "For the vast majority of the cases, it has the final say for safeguards for air, water and other toxic threats. The court is at a point where it desperately needs new judges."
Obama presented with opportunity to shape DC Circuit with new vacancy (SNL FERC Power Report, 12/12/12)
"I certainly think he can have an ability to moderate the court," Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney with Defenders of Wildlife and an expert on federal judicial selection, said Dec. 7. "He has the responsibility to put four judges in the court. That could obviously change the court and influence the court for some time to come. Sugameli said that with Democrats' gains in the Senate in the November elections, Obama will have an easier road ahead filling the court's empty seats. Failure to fill all the seats in the D.C. Circuit, asserted Sugameli, can have negative consequences. With fewer active judges, securing an en banc review by the D.C. Circuit - obtained through a majority of the active judges voting for it - is harder, he said. The vacancies could undermine attempts by the EPA to get an en banc review of the D.C. Circuit's decision to toss out the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule on the grounds that the EPA overreached in how it set limits on power plant emissions."
Chief Judge Sentelle to Take Senior Status (D.C. Circuit Review, 11/30/12)
"[W]ith four of the D.C. Circuit’s 11 seats seats vacant, President Obama will have an opportunity to significantly remake the court. (H/T Glenn Sugameli)"
Courts: Judge opens door for Obama by taking senior status (Environment & Energy (E & E) Daily, 11/30/12)
"Glenn Sugameli, a lawyer at Defenders of Wildlife who tracks judicial nominations, said the vacancy "demonstrates the urgency to bring the vital D.C. Circuit appeals court back to the 11-judge strength that it had when the Democratic Senate confirmed four of President George W. Bush's nominees to that court.""
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."
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."
The Other Health Case: D.C. Circuit Judges Reject Challenges to EPA Rules on Greenhouse Gases. (American Constitution Society Blog, 07/06/12)
Glenn Sugameli Guest Post: "This importance of the issues in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. Environmental Protection Agency is augmented by synergistic factors. These include: (1) the court that decided them; (2) the judges who joined the unsigned per curiam opinion; (3) the high likelihood that their ruling is the final judicial word; (4) the very strong language the judges used; and (5) the decision’s impact in confirming the scientific facts of climate change."
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."
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."
Secret Holds Block Non-Controversial Federal Judicial Nominees (A plain blog about politics, 06/22/10)
Posted comment by Judging the Enviroment's Glenn Sugameli on "Logjam Eased": "Thanks for the timely posting. Unfortunately, however, today’s Senate deal did not, as you report, fill “three vacancies on the DC Circuit.” The Senatus blog list that you link to only includes three judges for the local court--the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. What does not happen can be vital, as in Sherlock Holmes’ dog that did not bark. The most telling thing about the Senate agreement to confirm 60 nominees today is the fact that it did not include any nominees to fill lifetime seats on the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit or any of the100 federal appellate and district court vacancies. (US Courts website). The three federal district judges that you note were confirmed yesterday hardly made a dent. What is unprecedented is that many judicial nominees who were unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee long ago are still being blocked by secret holds. My Judging the Environment website has thousands of links to Senator statements, editorials, and more on Supreme Court and other federal judicial nominations and related issues such as access to courts."
GOP responsible for many court vacancies (Examiner, 01/08/09)
Glenn Sugameli Letter to the Editor: "The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals continues to baffle Quin Hillyer. My July 22nd letter explained how a Hillyer column removed West Virginia from the Circuit. Now, he mistakenly claims that Peter Keisler was nominated to that court. Hillyer omits why President Bush re-nominated President Clinton judges who were blocked by a GOP Senate. Roger Gregory was already a Fourth Circuit judge (via a recess appointment). Reappointing Gregory, this largely Southern Circuit’s first African-American judge, avoided reverting to the all-white court that Sen. Jesse Helms had preserved by blocking Gregory and other Clinton African American nominees. Bush repeatedly refused to revive Helene White’s Sixth Circuit nomination. He only agreed to confirm judges whom home-state Senators had blocked to highlight how a GOP Senate had denied White a hearing for many years. Hillyer also ignores how D.C. Circuit vacancies were created because a GOP Senate refused to vote on Clinton nominees Allen Snyder and Elena Kagan (Barack Obama’s choice for Solicitor General)."
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."