Skip Navigation
Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo
 

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Defenders of Wildlife

Editorials and Opinion

 

Issue
Nominee
Publication
Opinion Type
 

 

Items 1 - 30 of 999  12345678910Next

EDITORIAL: Keep nominations rule in U.S. Senate (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 12/17/14)
"When U.S. Senate Democrats, after much provocation, changed the rules on most judicial and executive nominations in late 2013, Republicans cried foul. Conveniently ignoring their obstruction for the sake of thwarting all things Obama, the Senate GOP caucus insisted that Democrats were trampeling traditions of comity, deliberation and respect for the minority party’s rights. ... All it should take is a simple majority — not 60 votes — to get to confirmation of most judicial and executive nominations.... Leadership can simply refuse to allow floor votes and schedule hearings, for instance. It’s difficult to envision such a course gaining any public favor — much less sending any message about Republicans’ ability to govern."

Judicial Nominations: Accomplishments and the Work That Lies Ahead (The White House, 12/17/14)
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston: "When President Obama took office, there were 55 vacancies in the federal judiciary. With the Senate’s recent confirmations, we have reached a milestone—fewer vacancies than when we began. Today, there are only 42 judicial vacancies, for a decrease of 25%. But by way of comparison, at this point in their administrations, President George W. Bush had decreased vacancies by almost 40%, and President Clinton had cut them in half. Furthermore, Chief Justice John Roberts and the Judicial Conference of the United States have recommended that Congress create 90 new permanent and temporary judgeships to address increasing caseloads across the country. Finally, President Obama’s judges have waited, on average, almost two-and-a-half times longer to be confirmed after being reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee than President Bush’s judges did at this point his administration—even though the vast majority of our judges are confirmed with overwhelming bipartisan support."

This is the First Time Our Judicial Pool Has Been This Diverse (The White House, 12/17/14)
White House Infographic

Democrats push to get judicial vacancies down to Bush-era levels (Daily Kos, 12/16/14)
Laura Clawson: "It's been two decades since the Senate confirmed as many judges as it is currently on track to do in 2014. If Democrats succeed at confirming the 12 judges Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to get votes on before the Senate goes home for Christmas, the year's total will be 88, the highest since 1994. That's in large part because by the time Democrats changed filibuster rules to break through Republican obstruction of President Obama's nominees, there was a major backlog ... the fact that now, six years into Obama's presidency, we are just getting back to the vacancy level that existed under George W. Bush right before Obama took office should show how ridiculous those Republican arguments are. And Bush was able to confirm judges for his last two years in office despite Democrats controlling the Senate,"

A whole new day on filling the federal courts (Maddow Blog {MSNBC], 12/16/14)
Steve Benen: "It wasn’t too long ago that judicial vacancies had reached a crisis level, and the problem seemed intractable with dozens of qualified Obama nominees stuck in Senate quicksand. Slowly but surely, however, there’s been some amazing progress on the issue.... this is the part of a president’s legacy that will matter long after he or she has left office."

Editorial | Welcome judicial appointments (Courier-Journal [KY] , 12/12/14)
"Washington gridlock cleared briefly last week to allow Kentucky to fill two important federal judicial vacancies.... Federal judicial candidates, nominated by the president, have become particularly contentious duing the current partisan conflict between President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans. Kentucky still has three vacancies, two at the district court level and one on the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals. Who knows? Maybe more candidates can slip through the gates of gridlock."

Editorial: New top environmental regulator should work for citizens, not ‘customers’  (Gaston Gazette [NC], 12/11/14)
"And three times the state stepped in to halt environmental groups’ lawsuits aimed at forcing Duke Energy to clean out its ash ponds. Under federal law, a lawsuit headed for the courts may be delayed if the state announces its intent to take action. But in North Carolina’s case, that action was much less than the environmentalists were seeking. Questions about the cozy relationship between DENR staff and the businesses they regulate did not originate with this administration; it has been an ongoing issue. Regulators do not have to be unnecessarily obstructionist."

Editorial: Democrats should stand up to NRA and confirm Vivek Murthy (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 12/09/14)
" As Republicans prepare to take over, they ought to cooperate by allowing up-or-down votes on 130-plus nominees of President Barack Obama, including ambassadors to 16 nations, and a dozen judgeships. Judicial nominees include Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., who clearly is qualified to serve as a U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of California. Gilliam got his law degree at Stanford and spent seven years as an assistant U.S. attorney in San Francisco....The filibuster was undemocratic when Republicans used it to impede Democrats during the first six years of the Obama presidency. Similarly, Democrats should not gum up the works when they are in the minority. Elections matter, which is why Obama has the right to appoint ambassadors, judges, cabinet secretaries and thousands of other officials, including Dr. Vivek Murthy as surgeon general."

GOP fuddy-duddies learn to love nuke option: So much for “restoring dignity” to the Senate; "Institutionalists" like Sens. Grassley and Hatch don't want to restore the filibuster. What a change of heart! (Salon.com, 12/09/14)
Jim Newell: "it needs to be remembered that the “nuclear option” was something that they said, one year ago, would destroy the Senate."

The Senate Should Cancel Its Own Christmas and Stay in Session Until 2015 (The New Republic, 12/08/14)
Danny Vinik: "Reid should keep the Senate in session until Republicans take over next year in order to confirm as many executive branch and judicial nominees as possible. Consider the actions of Senate Republicans during the past six years. Led by Majority Leader-Elect Mitch McConnell, the GOP used the filibuster to block President Barack Obama’s nominations for key executive branch and judicial positions. ... it is too important for the functioning of the executive branch and the makeup of the courts to spend the entire time on holiday."

EDITORIAL: In our opinion: Saving the sockeye salmon — a successful recovery of an endangered species (Deseret News [UT] , 12/06/14)
"Officials were not content merely to stave off extinction. They labored intently to bring the population back up to levels that are sustainable in the long term. That can and should be the mission of all government efforts under the Endangered Species Act."

Republicans leaning toward keeping the filibuster reform they said destroyed the Senate (Daily Kos, 12/05/14)
Joan McCarter: "Retaining the weaker standard would likely have scant impact on President Barack Obama's nominees in his final two years in office. Republicans controlling the Senate could simply choose to not hold votes on nominations they oppose and would not need filibusters, or procedural delays, to derail them. In the longer term, keeping the relaxed rule would make it harder for Democrats to block nominations should Republicans win the White House and retain control of the Senate in the 2016 elections. It's all about 2016."

EDITORIAL: Clean up Lake Erie — for real; A proposed state law offers mildly useful anti-pollution measures, and a lot of junk that needs to be tossed out (Toledo Blade [OH] , 12/04/14)
"Four months after toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie poisoned Toledo’s water supply, cleansing the lake remains an urgent imperative. Yet state lawmakers appear content to address the crisis with half measures, using a bill supposedly aimed at improving Ohio’s water quality to pursue unrelated, pernicious goals."

Editorial: Winners and losers: Mike Riley, wolf deaths (Statesman Journal [OR], 12/04/14)
"LOSER: Killing wolves. Research conducted through Washington State University found that wolf kills in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming actually increased the number of sheep and cattle killed by wolves the following year. "The reason appears to be that killing the alpha male or female in a pack frees the other wolves to start breeding. And breeding pairs trying to feed pups are more likely to kill livestock than individual wolves," the Associated Press said, quoting wildlife ecology professor Rob Wielgus. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife paid for the study, which was published in the journal PLOS One."

Waiting Game: Lame-Duck Dilemma: More Than 130 Obama Nominees Still Await Senate Action (Bloomberg News, 12/03/14)
Greg Giroux: "Judicial vacancies are a perennial cause of concern for court-watchers as caseloads clog federal dockets....Even some Republicans aren't happy with the backlog that's been building in the judicial ranks. “... vital resource needs include the appointment of an adequate number of judges to keep current on pending cases,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in his annual year-end report in 2012, ... “I urge the Executive and Legislative Branches to act diligently in nominating and confirming highly qualified candidates” to fill judicial vacancies, he said."

COMMENTARY: Middle District Judge nominee still awaiting confirmation (Progressive Pulse [NC], 12/02/14)
Chavi Khanna Koneru: "delay tactics do seem to be a ploy to avoid confirming President Obama’s nominees. There has been a long pattern of Republicans attempting to prevent the President from confirming judges ... delay tactics do seem to be a ploy to avoid confirming President Obama’s nominees. There has been a long pattern of Republicans attempting to prevent the President from confirming judges"

Editorial: A somber record for the Florida panther (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 12/02/14)
"Drivers needs to be alert in panther territory. But more importantly, public officials should show renewed support for conservation efforts to preserve the state's most endangered symbol. One worthy idea is the Florida Wildlife Corridor, which aims to create a sustainable path for wildlife stretching from the Everglades to Georgia and Alabama .... if people don't support conservation efforts, future generations might be able to see the Florida panther only on the special license plate of a car."

EDITORIAL: Emissions pact a good first step (Virginian-Pilot, 12/01/14)
"The climate change agreement last month between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping is a good start toward bending the trajectory of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions."

EDITORIAL: Japan Is Back in the Hunt for Whales (New York Times, 11/30/14)
"Claiming purely “scientific” motives, Japan’s political leaders are cynically planning to resume whale hunting in the Southern Ocean, despite the International Court of Justice finding that the Japanese government regularly violated its obligations under the international ban against commercial whaling off Antarctica."

GOP has a golden opportunity during the lame duck session (Herald Sun [NC] , 11/29/14)
Rob Schofield: "One of the first indicators will be what happens with a slew of pending and stalled nominations to serve on the federal courts.... At her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee just before the election, Biggs received a big “thumbs up” from senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr. While welcome and encouraging, Burr’s positive, “trains-on-time” stance on the Biggs nomination was enough to leave a sense of profound confusion given that it comes on the heels of an almost 18-month-long blockade of another Obama nominee – federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker,"

Thanksgiving and federal judicial appointments (The Hill, 11/28/14)
Prof. Carl Tobias: "the United States appellate and district courts should be thankful that a number of the 90 lower court vacancies which the judiciary has experienced for almost five years have finally been filled. ... The judiciary should be grateful that the White House has nominated, and the Senate has approved, two exceptional Supreme Court Justices, 53 excellent appellate judges, and 235 fine district judges. Obama has assiduously sought the advice and support of Democratic and Republican elected officers before actual nominations and has tendered nominees of balanced temperament, who are intelligent, diligent, independent and ethical, as well as diverse vis-à-vis ethnicity, gender and ideology.... However, the promising signs will only materialize into confirmations, if Democrats and Republicans work cooperatively in the remainder of the 113th Congress’s second session for the good of the courts and the country."

Editorial: Florida, nation cannot ignore climate change (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 11/28/14)
"Rising sea levels, drought, and the impacts that extreme weather will bring to farmland and fisheries will threaten the world's food and water supply — creating more instability in the most volatile parts of the world. The United States and the world have a responsibility to those future generations to address climate change before the costs only continue to grow."

For progress on climate, we give thanks: Editorial (Star-Ledger Newark [NJ] , 11/27/14)
"Let us give thanks for a shift in momentum in the fight against climate change during 2014."

LETTER: Senate should act on judicial vacancies now, not later (Erie Times-News [PA], 11/25/14)
Brenda Barron: "Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, along with their colleagues in the Senate, must make confirmation of judicial nominees a priority in the upcoming "lame duck" session....Republican obstructionism has delayed or derailed many of President Obama's judicial nominations. The resulting shortage of judges means our court system is now struggling to keep up with the growing backlog of cases."

Editorial: Fix the Senate (Boston Globe, 11/24/14)
"Increasingly, senators have been using their role of “advice and consent” to delay and refuse, not just controversial nominees, but everyone. Republicans are trying to run out the clock on Obama’s term. This is abuse of power. Nominees, the vast majority of whom have put other professional responsibilities on hold to serve their country, deserve consideration. Now that the Senate is set to change hands, leaders should agree to hold up-or-down votes as soon as possible on these nominees.... Another change that should be made is the removal of anonymous holds....When Democrats were faced with near-universal obstructionism on their nominees, they changed the Senate rules to avoid filibusters and get more quickly to an up-or-down vote. Thanks to the so-called “nuclear option,” it only takes 51 senators to confirm a presidential nominee... Presidential nominees deserve consideration, and the public deserves a government that is able to break through gridlock."

Make sure federal courts fully staffed (Editor's Inbox) ( Mason City Globe Gazette [IA], 11/23/14)
Dean Genth: "I urge Sen. Chuck Grassley to use his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to make sure our federal courts are fully staffed. Federal judges hear cases that directly affect the lives of everyday Americans, including cases addressing clean air and water,... Many of the pending nominees are the result of bipartisan agreement."

U.S. Senate needs to confirm federal judges (Denver Post [CO] , 11/23/14)
Amanda Gonzalez letter to the editor: "Colorado’s senators have gone back to Washington for a “lame duck” session, and one area where bipartisan cooperation might be possible is the confirmation of federal judge nominees. More than 60 federal judgeships are vacant, and 16 nominations are sitting waiting for Senate votes — mostly with bipartisan approvals by the Judiciary Committee.... We deserve a fully staffed judiciary to make sure justice is served. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet should remain in Washington until the Senate clears its calendar of pending judicial nominees."

Letter: Terms up for Begich but work left to be done (Juneau Empire [AK] , 11/20/14)
John Dunker: "there is just enough time for the Senate to confirm the outstanding judicial nominations to our federal courts, so essential to our system of checks and balances (if the Dems have the will). Sadly, this is not likely to be bipartisan so expect loud howling, but the result of the Democratic majority’s inaction now would likely be two more years of partisan Republican blocking of judicial nominee confirmations, a growing number of vacant seats on the court bench, currently 64, and lengthening docket backlogs. Inaction would then be the Senate Democrats’ legacy as well as the Republicans,’ a legacy that could extend far beyond the next two years in its effect on how the courts help shape our society."

Senate Republicans Use Lame Duck To Block Their Own Judicial Nominees (Huffington Post, 11/18/14)
Jennifer Bendery: "Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) delayed Senate Judiciary Committee action by a week on nine judicial nominees for no evident reason. That group includes three Texas nominees with strong support from Texas Sens. John Cornyn (R) and Ted Cruz (R). Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is refusing to submit his so-called "blue slip" to advance a Utah judicial nominee he's previously praised as "well known and highly regarded." And Republicans are forcing four Georgia judicial nominees with strong support from Georgia's GOP senators to each wait an extra day before they can get confirmed."

Congress should fill judicial vacancies (Miami Herald, 11/18/14)
Letter to the Editor by Mark Ferrulo, Progress Florida: "Currently, there are more than 60 judicial openings across the federal court system, and many of these vacancies have languished for months, or even years, because of partisan gridlock and obstruction. All across the country, these vacancies are seriously hurting citizens’ ability to have their day in court. The lame-duck session in Washington provides senators, including Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, a chance to address this growing crisis. At least two dozen nominees are or will soon be awaiting confirmation votes. Senators need to act quickly and in a bipartisan spirit to make the most of the session by filling the judicial vacancies with qualified nominees."