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Raw politics impacts justice (The Record of Hackensack, NJ, 11/28/15)
Alliance for Justice's Kyle Barry's Letter to the Editor: "Bloomberg News Columnist Jonathan Bernstein describes a "partial government shutdown" created by the Republican Senate's historically slow pace of confirming President Obama's executive and judicial nominees. As it turns out, this strategy, which Bernstein calls "pure partisan harassment," has harmed New Jersey perhaps more than any other state. First, there are the federal district court vacancies. New Jersey has had four new vacancies in 2015 (only New York, with five, has had more), and all four are "judicial emergencies," according to the non-partisan Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. ... It would help if the Senate confirmed three consensus nominees waiting for a vote but instead the monthslong delay continues with no end in sight. One of the nominees, Julien Neals, has been pending in the Senate since February. Second, there is the case of Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, a trial judge in Pennsylvania who is a nominee to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. ... Restrepo was nominated more than a year ago and has been endorsed by Pennsylvania's Republican Senator Pat Toomey. ... Justice should be above politics and the people of New Jersey should demand the fully-staffed courts to which they are entitled."

EDITORIAL: Congress at work, or hardly working? (Miami Herald, 11/28/15)
"Even routine business was neglected this year, and 2016 won’t be better. The Senate has confirmed 135 Obama executive nominees this year, but many more are languishing in Congress. One of these is for the vacant post of undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, for which Mr. Obama nominated someone in April. By comparison, in George W. Bush’s seventh year, a Democratic Senate confirmed 234 nominees in 2007. Meanwhile, only 10 judicial vacancies have been confirmed this year, leaving 66 benches open, the slowest pace for confirmations in more than half a century."

Thanksgiving and federal judicial confirmations11/26/2015 (The Hill, 11/26/15)
Prof. Carl Tobias: "The federal judiciary currently experiences 66 openings, while President Obama has nominated 27 candidates for those vacancies. The bench should be thankful that the administration has nominated, and the Senate has confirmed, two superb Supreme Court Justices, 54 excellent appellate judges, and 261 fine district judges.... However, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), the Majority Leader, has permitted only ten floor votes on judicial nominees all year. ... The federal courts should as well offer thanks that the Senate Democrats exploded the “nuclear option,” two years ago. That measure permitted dozens of nominees to receive cloture and confirmation votes, ... functioning with many vacant judgeships can undercut courts’ efforts to promptly, economically and fairly resolve cases."

EDITORIAL: Approval of judicial candidate will help with the backlog of federal court cases (Buffalo News [NY], 11/25/15)
"Sweet’s name has been put forth by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., as part of his long struggle to fill judicial vacancies that are contributing to long delays in hearing cases here. But the Republican majority in the Senate, with an eye on next year’s presidential election, has slowed to a crawl the process of filling the federal court vacancies. The end result is Western New York loses; justice loses.... This political season should not delay the administration of justice and adversely affect many lives.... The federal caseload here is enormous. The backlog of civil and criminal cases makes the wait among the worst in the nation. It takes, on average, more than five years for civil cases to come to trial in Buffalo. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that courts here received more new filings last year – 744 new cases per judge – than all but nine of 94 court systems across the country. Vilardo’s confirmation is expected to ease the burden, but filling another vacancy is imperative."

How Republican obstruction hurts us (, 11/25/15)
Al Día News op-ed by Dolores Huerta: "A year ago, President Obama nominated Judge L. Felipe Restrepo to fill a vacancy on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Not only would this nominee fill a judicial emergency and help address the backlog of cases piling up in our nation’s courts; Judge Restrepo’s was an historic step forward for our community. He would be only the second Latino ever to sit on that court, and the first Latino from his home state, Pennsylvania. Perhaps even more impressive, the nomination was applauded across the aisle. Both of Pennsylvania’s Senators, Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican, praised the nomination and offered their enthusiastic support.... Senator Toomey, who went out of his way to endorse Judge Restrepo when he was nominated, managed to take six months simply to return the paperwork to the Judiciary Committee to allow the nominee a hearing. After that, Republican delays aimed indiscriminately at all of President Obama’s nominee’s prevented Judge Restrepo from actually being approved by the committee — unanimously — for another two months.... And we’ve heard nothing from Senator Toomey, Judge Restrepo’s supposed supporter, to call on his fellow Republicans who control the Senate to move quickly to act on this nomination.... The Senate should finally do its job and confirm Judge Restrepo."

Congress Earned Voters' Disrespect (Bloomberg News, 11/23/15)
Jonathan Bernstein: “Republicans still refuse to take up many of Barack Obama’s judicial and executive-branch nominations -- a roadblock that makes it hard for the courts and the federal government to work efficiently … Only 10 judges have been confirmed this year, leaving 66 judicial vacancies. The last time judges were confirmed so slowly was in the 1950s, during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. …this isn’t a Senate that is using this influence to govern. It’s a Senate engaged in pure partisan harassment of Obama, and indifferent to the smooth functioning of government. ... As for the courts, we all know what justice delayed means.”

Benched! Grassley, Reporting “Good Progress” on Judicial Confirmations, Ignores Traffic Jam of Vacancies and Pending Nominees (Justice Watch, 11/20/15)
"Grassley’s rearview mirror has some blind spots. For starters, comparing total confirmed is only useful if each president faced the same number of vacancies. But as of today, President Obama has been tasked with appointing judges to 381 judicial vacancies, while President Bush had 377 judicial vacancies to deal with—during his entire presidency. That’s right, Obama already has had more judicial vacancies to fill than Bush ever faced, and Obama still has over a year left in office.... the judiciary started this year with 43 vacancies. Now that the Senate’s confirmation machine has stalled out, that number has skyrocketed to 66. And here’s where the wheels start coming off the whole thing: the number of vacancies that have been declared judicial emergencies by the non-partisan Judicial Conference of the United States Courts has gone up from 12 at the beginning of the year to 29 today.... There are 15 consensus nominees already approved by the Judiciary Committee that are simply waiting for a vote on the Senate floor. Seven of those nominees have the support of Republican home-state senators, and nine of them would fill judicial emergencies. Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, nominated to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the Third Circuit, has been waiting in the Senate for over one year. Another nominee, Travis McDonough for the Eastern District of Tennessee, marks his one year nomination anniversary today. The current delay is simply inexcusable."

Will Nebraska's Senators Help Our Federal Courts? (People For blog, 11/19/15)
"Nebraska has a judicial vacancy that has been open for more than a year, leaving fewer judges available to handle the state’s relatively heavy caseload.... At Rossiter’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Fischer spoke about urgency of filling the vacancy as soon as possible .... However, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has needlessly forced all of President Obama’s nominees to wait for floor votes far longer than necessary .... So if Sens. Fischer and Sasse want to get help to the overburdened Nebraska federal court as soon as possible,... they need to press McConnell to immediately allow votes on all those judicial nominees ahead of Rossiter. Like all 14 pending nominees, they have been fully vetted and face no opposition. In fact, all 14 could and should be confirmed immediately."

Senate Obstruction of Restrepo Nomination Is Simply Inexcusable (Huffington Post, 11/17/15)
Jake Faleschini: "November 12 marked the one-year anniversary of Judge Luis Restrepo's nomination to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Pennsylvania, a nomination that -- one year later -- languishes in the Senate due to Senate obstruction. As the Third Circuit seat remains vacant, cases continue to pile up and judges can't keep pace with the caseload. And it's not just the Third Circuit; this seat is just one of more than 65 current federal judicial vacancies across the country that are crippling our federal courts and denying access to justice for thousands of Americans."

Marco Rubio, Do Your Job! (South Florida Lawyers, 11/17/15)
"It's "just not fun" that Rubio continues to refuse to turn in the blue slip necessary to get a vote on Mary Barzee Flores' nomination to fill an "emergency seat" on the SD FL. Here is Senator Leahy yesterday on the failure to get qualified judicial nominees on the federal bench: [EXCERPT] Enough already! In fact, Senator Reid today actually addressed the specific issue of Rubio's mistreatment of Mary's nomination: [EXCERPT] Enough already (already)! ... Labels: Glenn Sugameli"

On Judges, GOP Senate Finally Breaks Into Double Digits (People For blog, 11/16/15)
"Third Circuit nominee L. Felipe Restrepo is still waiting for a confirmation vote. The low number of judicial confirmations also isn’t because the nominees are controversial. Almost all of them faced no opposition whatsoever in the Judiciary Committee or on the Senate floor. ...Restrepo is hardly the only slow-walked nominee this year who would fill a judicial emergency. In fact, the number of judicial emergencies nationwide has skyrocketed from 12 at the beginning of the year to 29 today (after DeArcy Hall is confirmed). Similarly, the number of circuit and district court vacancies has risen dramatically, from 40 at the beginning of the year to 62 after today’s confirmation. Even if every vacancy were to be filled tomorrow, there would still not be enough judges to ensure every American’s opportunity to have their day in court. Judges are so overwhelmed that the Judicial Conference of the United States recommended in March of 2015 that Congress create five new circuit court seats and 68 new district court seats (as well as make permanent nine district court seats that are now temporary). So filling vacancies is a priority."

Sohn: Don't let politics stall justice, confirm Obama's judges (Chattanooga Times [TN], 11/14/15)
Pam Sohn, Times Page Editor: "In November 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Travis Randall McDonough to a federal judgeship in the 6th Circuit's Eastern District of Tennessee. McDonough, a former chief of staff for Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, has the support of Tennessee's Republican senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander. ... Our senators also vouched for a nominee to a federal judgeship in the Middle District of Tennessee, Waverly D. Crenshaw. Up in Pennsylvania, two senators have done the same for Luis Felipe Restrepo, nominated to a judgeship on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican, have seemingly blessed that nomination, according to a New York Times editorial .... Senate Democrats should speak up and make these inexcusable delays a national issue. The Times also is urging President Obama to start selecting judges himself in states like Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin and Indiana, where senators refuse to give him any names at all. "With each day that passes without a vote" on McDonough and the other nominees, "Republicans undermine the justice system, and the biggest victims are ordinary Americans who cannot count on fully functioning courts," the Times writes. We couldn't have said it better."

EDITORIAL: Confirm President Obama’s Judges (New York Times, 11/13/15)
"On Nov. 12, 2014, President Obama nominated Luis Felipe Restrepo to a judgeship on the federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Restrepo, who already sits on the United States District Court in Philadelphia, seemed to secure the support of both Pennsylvania senators — Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican.... The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Judge Restrepo for the appeals court seat in July. There has been no explanation for the holdup since then. As a Hispanic and a former public defender, Judge Restrepo would bring a needed measure of ethnic and professional diversity to the court. But he is just one of many judicial nominees awaiting action. Thirteen have not received a hearing by the Judiciary Committee, and 16 others, including Judge Restrepo, have been approved by the committee, all unanimously, but are still waiting for a full vote on the Senate floor. Since Republicans took over in January, the Senate has confirmed only nine of President Obama’s nominees, the slowest pace in more than half a century. Meanwhile, the seat Judge Restrepo would fill is one of 30 long-vacant federal judgeships the court system deems “judicial emergencies,” ....there are 67 judicial vacancies today, far more than the number of vacancies Mr. Bush faced in 2007..... Senate Democrats should make these inexcusable delays a national issue. Mr. Obama, meanwhile, could start selecting judges himself in states like Texas, Alabama, Wisconsin and Indiana, where senators refuse to give him any names at all."

Happy Birthday, Restrepo nomination! (CA3blog, 11/13/15)
"Today’s New York Times features this editorial slamming Senate Republicans, and PA Senator Toomey in particular, for the delay in confirming Judge L. Felipe Restrepo. Judge Restrepo was originally nominated to the Third Circuit a year ago yesterday. It’s a powerful editorial. It urges Senate Democrats to “make these inexcusable delays a national issue,” and it concludes: "With each day that passes without a vote on Judge Restrepo and other nominees, Republicans undermine the justice system, and the biggest victims are ordinary Americans who cannot count on fully functioning courts." Also today, P.J. DAnnunzio has this story in the Legal Intelligencer ... It quotes a law professor blaming Toomey for the delay: “Either he’s not pushing or he doesn’t know how to push.”"

Confirming Judge Restrepo to the Third Circuit (The Hill, 11/13/15)
Carl Tobias: "Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo is the latest hostage in the protracted “confirmation wars.” President Obama nominated the highly qualified, consensus judge one year ago, at the powerful bipartisan suggestion of Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R), but he waited seven prolonged months on a hearing. Now, as in 2007, this Pennsylvania federal district court judge’s unopposed Third Circuit nomination needs a floor vote in a Senate not controlled by the president’s party. On March 15, 2007, the Senate with a Democratic majority approved President George W. Bush’s nomination of Judge Thomas Hardiman on a 95-0 vote seven days after the Judiciary Committee reported him. This precedent is a critical reason why the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) must promptly set a floor ballot for Restrepo whom the panel approved on a July 9 voice vote without dissent. The jurist would fill one of 30 openings which the U.S. Courts have designated judicial emergencies. On July 1, Third Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell also assumed senior status, which means that the court encounters two openings in fourteen judgeships. One spokesperson for Toomey observed that the lawmaker had talked directly with McConnell to stress the importance of having Restrepo confirmed, although this individual failed to state whether Toomey has actually requested a swift vote. As Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared in a July statement on the Senate floor, if Toomey merely requested that Judge Restrepo be confirmed immediately, Reid was certain the Senate would approve the jurist the following week."

Pat Toomey's Insulting Explanation for Withholding Blue Slips (People For blog, 11/13/15)
"From the Butler Eagle: "According to a Toomey staffer, the senator will not submit the blue slip for any judicial candidate until the investigation is done, just to make sure the candidates’ backgrounds are clear. If any problems turn up in the investigation and the blue slip already is turned in, there is nothing to stop a vote on the nominee, the staffer said." That’s simply false. Just ask Steve Six, a Tenth Circuit nominee from Kansas in 2011, when Democrats held the Senate majority. Republicans home state senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran submitted their blue slips, and Six had a confirmation hearing. But afterward, the senators rescinded their blue slips."

Benched! An anniversary not worth celebrating (Justice Watch, 11/12/15)
"Currently, the only pending court of appeals nominee on the Senate calendar is Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, a nominee to the Third Circuit who just two years ago was unanimously confirmed as a trial court judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. ... Yet, as of today, Restrepo’s nomination has been pending for an entire calendar year, and there’s no indication from Senate GOP leadership that a confirmation is imminent. Over the past year, Senate Republicans have delayed and obstructed Restrepo’s confirmation at every turn. First, Toomey and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley forced him to wait eight months for a hearing while publicly disagreeing over who was responsible for the delay. Then after the hearing another month went by before he finally received a committee vote (he was unanimously approved). Since then, Restrepo has been languishing on the Senate floor, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused for over four months to hold a vote."

An Anniversary Pat Toomey Should Be Ashamed Of (People For blog, 11/12/15)
"Today is the one-year anniversary of the nomination of L. Felipe Restrepo to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. That Restrepo hasn’t yet been confirmed says volumes about Senate Republicans, and especially Pat Toomey. When Restrepo was nominated, both of his home state senators – Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey – released enthusiastic statements of support. Unfortunately, only one of them matched his words with deeds. Casey submitted his “blue slip,” signaling his approval for the Judiciary Committee to take up the nomination. Toomey didn’t. ... And now here we are, in mid-November, and Restrepo remains unconfirmed, the result of Toomey’s collaboration with his party leaders to obstruct judicial nominations as much as possible. For individuals and businesses in Pennsylvania (as well as New Jersey and Delaware, the other two states within the Third Circuit), having two vacancies unfilled means not having timely access to justice. This judicial emergency could have and should have been filled many months ago. Restrepo was nominated one year ago today. It is an anniversary that Pat Toomey should be ashamed of."

Pat Toomey Is Holding Up His Own Judicial Nominees. Again. It's part of a pattern of Republicans delaying votes on Obama's court picks. (Huffington Post, 11/10/15)
Jennifer Bendery: "It was just July when Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was raving about the four judicial nominees he recommended to President Barack Obama.... Today, Toomey is blocking those nominees in the Senate Judiciary Committee. He hasn't turned in his so-called "blue slips" to signal that he's ready to give them a hearing ... Toomey's delays come at a time when Senate Republicans are deliberately slow-walking judicial confirmations.... This isn't the first time Toomey has used the blue slip process to hold up his own nominee. For months, he didn't turn in his blue slip for Luis Felipe Restrepo, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. He gave The Huffington Post a confusing response in May when asked why he wasn't letting his nominee move. He eventually relented and Restrepo was voted out of committee. GOP leaders have been delaying his confirmation vote for months, though. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said Monday that Toomey should be calling for Restrepo's immediate confirmation."

Grassley's Moves Against Democratic Senators' Judicial Nominees (People For blog, 11/09/15)
"Grassley wants both Iowans confirmed quickly. Since Grassley promised to process nominees in the order he received them last spring, he should have pulled out the stops to process all the other nominees so the committee could quickly get to Ebinger. But that isn’t what’s happened. Instead, Grassley leapfrogged her over ten longer-waiting district court nominees for the one and only judicial nominations hearing he held last month. Some of those nominees are from states with at least one Republican senator, where he can count on them to delay submitting their blue slip for months, a way the GOP can slow down the process as much as possible. (For an example of how this works, just ask Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey.) But four of the skipped nominees come from states with two Democratic senators, who – wanting to see their recommended nominees confirmed as soon as possible – had turned in their blue slips early on .... in sending the list of five approved nominees to the full Senate, Chairman Grassley made sure to list the Iowans first. That’s not fair to Neals, who was nominated nearly seven months before Ebinger, or to Young and Brown, or to any of the people waiting for justice in their overburdened judicial districts."

Editorial: The Right Leader for New York’s Courts (New York Times, 11/09/15)
"The job of running New York State’s highest court is open once again, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has an important decision to make in filling it.... Last month, the Commission on Judicial Nomination, a bipartisan group led by Judge Lippman’s predecessor, Judith Kaye, released a list of seven nominees to succeed him. Among these are ... Caitlin Halligan, the state’s solicitor general from 2001 to 2007, and now a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.... While the list represents a cross section of highly capable and well-respected lawyers with diverse backgrounds, Ms. Halligan and Ms. Prudenti stand out. Ms. Halligan argued regularly before the court as state solicitor general and is widely considered a superb litigator. In 2010, President Obama nominated her to serve on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., but Senate Republicans blocked her from receiving a full vote for more than two years. Their opposition was based in large part on her efforts to hold gun manufacturers and retailers accountable for crimes committed with illegal guns in New York."

Benched! Another kind of politically-motivated delay in New Jersey (Justice Watch, 11/05/15)
Julien "Neals was nominated to fill a judicial emergency eight months ago but Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley forced him to wait more than seven months for a hearing. Grassley then delayed consideration of a vote for yet another month despite there being no opposition to Neals. During that time, New Jersey’s vacancy total grew to four, all of which are now judicial emergencies. (Of note, Grassley didn’t subject his own Iowa nominees to such delay; they were quickly voted out of committee today just two weeks after their confirmation hearing, and SD IA nominee Rebecca Ebinger had a confirmation hearing just over a month after her nomination.) Indeed, New Jersey has been especially harmed by the Republican-engineered vacancy crisis. Four of the court’s 17 judgeships have become vacant during 2015, and the four emergencies are part of a 142 percent increase nationwide since Republicans took control of the Senate in January. ...there are 16 nominees pending on the Senate floor and still 13 nominees held up in the Judiciary Committee. Ten of those in committee were nominated at least three months ago, including Mary Barzee Flores who was nominated over eight months ago to a judicial emergency in the Southern District of Florida and still hasn’t had a hearing."

Judge nominee waits (Butler Eagle [PA], 11/05/15)
Valerie Dryden, Letter to the Editor: "U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., keeps talking about what he’s doing for Pennsylvanians. But he forgets to mention one thing: blocking his own judicial nominee. Toomey is withholding his so-called “blue slip” from the Judiciary Committee to prevent Butler County Judge and district judge nominee Marilyn Horan from advancing....Pennsylvania’s other senator, Democrat Bob Casey, turned in his blue slip months ago. But nothing from Toomey. The weird part is that Toomey supports Horan. He and Casey recommended her to President Barack Obama, who formally nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Senator, speed the process for judicial nominee Horan."

See, It's Not So Hard to Be Fair to Judicial Nominees! (People For blog, 11/05/15)
"Well, actually, it’s just two of them that are the cause of this departure from Grassley’s pattern of obstruction: Leonard Strand and Rebecca Ebinger are from his home state of Iowa, and Grassley is the one who recommended them to the White House. Ebinger was leapfrogged over ten other nominees so Grassley could include her in the committee hearing two weeks ago. In fact, Grassley and fellow Iowa senator Joni Ernst turned in their blue slips approving her nomination before her paperwork was even submitted to the Judiciary Committee.... today, although it was the first time on the agenda for Strand and Ebinger (the two Iowa nominees) and for Brown and Young (the New York and California nominees), Chairman Grassley made sure they all got a timely vote rather than holding them over. That was the right thing to do. Would that it weren’t so rare."

Senate Republicans Are Blocking Obama's Judges at a Nearly Unprecedented Rate: The Senate is on pace to approve the fewest judges in more than half a century. (Mother Jones, 11/04/15)
"The Senate has confirmed just nine judges nominated by President Obama so far this year. It's the slowest pace of confirmations in more than half a century, on track to match the 11 confirmations in 1960.... by this point in 2007, when Democrats controlled the Senate, 34 of President George W. Bush's judges had been confirmed.... Republicans have been gumming up the works at each step of the process. ... Republicans have been slow to give their consent to any nominee, with 55 judicial vacancies currently lacking a nomination. ... Even when Republican senators appears to support a nominee, they've dragged out the process. Sen. Marco Rubio, for example, recommended Mary Flores to the White House for a spot on a Florida district court, but has been withholding his so-called "blue slip" approval form, preventing her from moving forward to a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. (He says he is still reviewing her qualifications.) Even after a judicial nominee has cleared the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been slow about scheduling votes on the Senate floor, where 11 nominees are awaiting confirmation."

Third Circuit’s judicial emergency, on and on (CA3blog, 11/03/15)
"The Third Circuit’s judicial emergency is the second-oldest circuit emergency in the country. ... And no one has even been nominated yet for the Third Circuit’s second empty seat, fully four months after Judge Rendell went senior, and nine months after she announced that she would. The upshot? Third Circuit IOP 3.1 provides: Unless there is a judicial emergency, each panel includes either two active judges of this court or one active judge and one senior judge of this court. But because of the judicial emergency, the Third Circuit’s active judges are now playing a radically smaller than normal role in shaping its precedent: four out of the last five CA3 published opinions were issued by panels with a single active judge and two senior judges."

The Endangered Species Act, species it protects are under attack (Bangor Daily News [ME], 11/03/15)
Rep. Roland “Danny” Martin: "During my tenure as commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, I learned firsthand what I had always known intuitively: Maine’s wildlife is a valued and wondrous gift that, at the same time, is resilient and fragile. ... The state, however, could only do so much, and without the protections of the Endangered Species Act, or ESA, first passed in 1973, many of our efforts would have fallen short. Unfortunately, the ESA is under attack. Despite its nearly 99 percent success rate of preventing the extinction of listed species, the ESA is under fire as some in Congress continue to try to weaken or eliminate very important portions of the act. For example, there have been multiple legislative proposals introduced to prevent intrastate species — species that can only be found in one state — from being listed under the ESA. This could lead to the extinction of countless species because states do not spend adequate funds on the protection and recovery of imperiled species.... it is more important than ever that Collins and King know the Endangered Species Act — legislation that has protected some of the most vulnerable animal and plant species in our country — is in need of protection itself. Maine and Mainers are counting on them."

Senator Grassley broke his word on judicial nominees (Gazette [Cedar Rapids, IA], 10/31/15)
Matt Sinovic, guest columnist: "After promising to move judges forward in a timely fashion as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley has done the opposite. There are 21 nominees pending in his committee, many who have been waiting months or years. Even after the Oct. 21 hearings for two nominees from Iowa, they will still need to be voted out of committee, which will likely be delayed. That means 21 nominees are ready to serve, but needlessly sit by while court cases pile up and Americans are denied justice.... After promising to move judges forward in a timely fashion as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley has done the opposite. There are 21 nominees pending in his committee, many who have been waiting months or years. Even after the Oct. 21 hearings for two nominees from Iowa, they will still need to be voted out of committee, which will likely be delayed. That means 21 nominees are ready to serve, but needlessly sit by while court cases pile up and Americans are denied justice."

Marco crushes Jeb (Southern District of Florida Blog, 10/29/15)
David Markus: "Would a more effective attack be about judicial nominations? Rubio won't give the blue-slip on his own judicial nominee [Huffington Post link and excerpt]"

Why Is Rubio Blocking His Own Judicial Nomination? (South Florida Lawyers, 10/29/15)
"Talk about a dereliction of duty: ...This is just unconscionable.... every supporter of Rubio should urge him to do the right thing and at least show up once this year to turn in his stupid blue slip, so we can get a highly qualified jurist on the federal bench. Enough already."