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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


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Editorials and Opinion

 

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Great Progress in Judicial Nominations (People For blog, 06/19/14)
"With the Senate finally able to do its job, the number of current vacancies has gone down from 92 at the beginning of the year to 60 today....With the Senate finally able to do its job, the number of current vacancies has gone down from 92 at the beginning of the year to 60 today.... Every American has the right to protect their legal rights in a court of law, but judicial vacancies make that harder. Harry Reid, Patrick Leahy, and the Democrats are to be commended for making judicial confirmations such a high priority."

EDITORIAL: More judges seated, but need still great (Austin American-Statesman [TX] , 06/17/14)
"Judicial vacancies burden a federal court system already dealing with a record caseload, and they delay justice for millions of Americans whose lives and businesses are put on hold when there are not enough judges to decide their cases....But there still are too many judicial vacancies, and the need to fill them remains urgent. The sense of urgency is especially acute in Texas.... We call on both senators to work with the White House on filling judicial vacancies in Texas. Beyond judicial vacancies, there also is a need for more federal judges. ... The Judicial Conference of the United States, chaired by John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has recommended increasing the number of federal judgeships in Texas by eight new permanent positions. The state's congressional delegation would do Texas well by supporting legislation to enact the conference's recommendations."

Remarks by the President at a DNC LGBT Gala (The White House, 06/17/14)
"And today, the Senate confirmed two openly gay judges in the same day. Before I took office, only one openly gay judge had been confirmed in history. We have 10 more."

White House Infographic: This is the First Time Our Judicial Pool Has Been This Diverse (The White House, 06/17/14)
"The men and women the President has nominated to enforce our laws and deliver justice represent his unprecedented commitment expanding the diversity of our nation's highest courts. That's a big deal"

A Historic Day for Our Judiciary (The White House, 06/17/14)
Neil Eggleston, Counsel to the President: "Today’s confirmations also set historic milestones: • For the first time in history, the Senate has confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day. • President Obama has now appointed more female judges than any other President, breaking the record previously set by President Clinton. • President Obama also has now appointed more Hispanic judges than any other President, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush. As we’ve said before, these “firsts” — and these milestones — are important, not because these judges will consider cases differently, but because a judiciary that better resembles our nation instills even greater confidence in our justice system, and because these judges will serve as role models for generations of lawyers to come."

Editorial: AG Patrick Morrisey defends pollution (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 06/16/14)
"Apparently, a costly court battle will be waged by West Virginia politicians in an attempt to prevent a power plant cleanup. In effect, they will use taxpayer money to defend pollution from this state’s powerful coal industry. Nitpicking over legal technicalities ignores a much-bigger issue: whether America can regulate “greenhouse gases” that blanket the sky and reflect heat onto the planet’s surface — causing global warming that spawns worse storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and other expensive menaces to humanity. Be prepared for months or years of courtroom struggles to settle this fundamental question. Around the nation, various newspapers applauded the Obama administration for trying to curb coal fumes."

Letter: Vetting judicial candidates (Ames Tribune [IA], 06/14/14)
Erv Klaas: "I wrote to my Iowa senators in support of President Obama’s nomination of Michele Friedman to the Ninth Court of Appeals.... Senator Grassley voted against. In his response to my letter of support, he stated, “Factors I consider important include intellectual ability, respect for the Constitution, fidelity to the law, personal integrity, appropriate judicial temperament, and professional competence.” It seems these factors were not enough for Senator Grassley. He went on to say that he voted against her confirmation because he was “unconvinced that she would be able to set aside her advocacy for liberal causes and transition to the role of impartial jurist.” Would he say the same for a nominee who advocated for conservative causes? It is clear that the only factor that is important to Senator Grassley is whether a nominee is conservative or liberal and that he is unwilling and incapable of being an impartial senator."

Editorial: Sen. Graham won on his record; Rather than run from his record, Lindsey Graham embraced it. He often reminded his fellow Republicans that it’s not enough to be against something. (Greenville [SC] News, 06/14/14)
"On what could have been a lethal issue used by his opponents, Graham didn’t apologize for his support for President Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees. Instead, he explained why Republicans should respect a president’s choice as long as the nominee is competent and not corrupt. And he called for fairness in the confirmation process to protect not just a Democratic president but also a Republican one."

Sentinel Editorial: New EPA rules, city's efforts share same goal (Keene Sentinel [NH], 06/12/14)
"Whatever success the city has with reducing emissions, and whatever success the state may have within the nine-state Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a good portion of the carbon dioxide, acid and other contaminants in our air are drawn here by the winds from Rust Belt coal-fired industrial plants. The effort to reduce the greenhouse gas output of those plants is a laudable goal in itself....We think the proposed rules strike a fair balance, one that’s achievable and sends a message the country is serious about addressing climate change."

EDITORIAL: Our View: GOP: Go to Moscow, Come Back to Reality (Times-News [ID] , 06/11/14)
"Put plainly, the “establishment vs. tea party” spat is destroying Idaho. That’s the problem with a one-party state. If the dominant party goes off the rails, the entire thing falls down. Idaho’s GOP is too busy arguing about the important stuff, like ... spending mountains of cash on a doomed-but-pandering bid to somehow “take back” federal lands that Idaho never actually owned.... And let’s not forget about the wolves. Showing how much they’re hated, we mean really hated, is worth a heap of money, too. The pesky school children can do more with less."... Enough with the absurd initiatives only designed to make “statements.” Enough with the lunacy."

Obama leaves his mark on the federal bench (MSNBC, 06/11/14)
Adam Serwer: "Alliance for Justice, a liberal legal group, released a report Monday ... The blue-slip is not quite as effective as the filibuster, but it has taken its toll. According to the report, “nine out of every 10 judicial vacancies without a nominee are in states with at least one Republican senator—and 55% are in states where both senators are Republicans.”"

Editorial: A major step to reduce carbon footprint (Day [CT] , 06/10/14)
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plan, announced last week, to require dramatic reductions in carbon output from coal-fired power plants brings a breath of fresh air ... President Barack Obama ... is finally coming through with an aggressive initiative designed to tackle one of the planet's most critical problems: climate change worsened by carbon emissions."

EDITORIAL: Gazette opinion: Energy jobs, health matter in writing emissions rules (Billings Gazette [MT,WY], 06/10/14)
"The new challenge for Montana is to look for opportunities in the nationwide push to reduce carbon emissions. Montana must respond with a plan that recognizes the value of coal and other energy sources. The American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and various public health groups cheered the news that CO2 emissions will be reduced. The EPA estimated its rule would prevent up to 6,660 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children by 2030. ... With good planning and aggressive research and development of more affordable clean energy technologies, we can sustain both better health and a thriving economy."

LETTER: Toomey, Casey should act to fill judicial vacanciesexp (Express-Times [PA], 06/10/14)
Christine Stone, Co-Chairwoman, Pennsylvania Coalition of Constitutional Values: "There are eight vacancies on the U.S. Eastern and Western District courts in Pennsylvania. These openings erode justice and Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey each share responsibility. Constitutionally, the president nominates individuals for judgeship, but tradition holds that the two senators from the state with the vacancy — or, in this case, eight vacancies — are to offer up candidates for the president to approve. As seats remain unfilled, Pennsylvanians who rely on district courts are being denied the justice they deserve. With eight vacancies in Pennsylvania ranging in duration from two years to six months, Toomey and Casey must act now and suggest candidates for nomination to these openings."

Berms and future storms (editorial)stat (Staten Island Advance [NY] , 06/09/14)
"[N]o one thought a storm that started off as Sandy did could produce such a catastrophe around here. And with climate change, say responsible experts, we can expect more huge tempests....the process of returning former wetland areas that were foolishly developed into residential blocks in the 20th Century back to their natural state has begun."

EDITORIAL: Our View: A cleaner Valley in which to live (Decatur Daily [AL] , 06/09/14)
"President Barack Obama, in an attempt to deal with climate change, wants to reduce carbon emissions ... His plan, expected to be finalized next year, presents challenges to industry and automobile makers that instead of being insurmountable should be an opportunity for innovation. Here at home, the Tennessee Valley Authority is quietly going about reducing emissions at its fossil fuel plants, and appears to be well ahead of the president’s timetable.... The evidence of warming is becoming alarmingly clear with ice melting at the polar caps and temperatures steadily rising. Not only will green energy provide us with a cleaner, healthier environment, it will open new avenues of economic development and research"

Editorial: The conservative backpedal (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 06/09/14)
"Soon, we predict, retreat will be seen in a different field: right-wing opposition to evidence of climate change. As scientific proof of global warming grows ever more solid — and abnormal weather grows ever more violent — we expect conservatives to go through another shut-up-and-back-off withdrawal. ... Here in West Virginia, the “shut up” phase has begun. When reporter David Gutman asked Mountain State political figures “Do you believe that man-made carbon emissions are causing climate change?” he drew mostly silence or evasions."

Editorial: Coal rules might be first step to save ourselves (Lake County News-Sun [IL], 06/09/14)
"Obama’s leadership on this issue might reflect that we have at least crossed some consensus threshold. Maybe we’ve figured out the truth. Our energy choices are killing the planet and us along with it. However expensive and disruptive the changes might be, survival sure beats the alternative. We apparently have figured out that greenhouse gases and climate change are real."

Editorial: Time to get serious about greenhouse gases (Lewiston Sun-Journal [ME] , 06/08/14)
"New greenhouse gas rules announced last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency elicited howls of protest from the South and Midwest.... Maine’s congressional delegates should not only vote against any attempt to weaken or delay the new rules, they should be actively trying to convince members from other states to do the same. The Northeast has led the way on climate change, and led by example. It’s time for the rest of the country to follow."

EDITORIAL: New carbon rules are essential (Herald [Rock Hill, SC], 06/08/14)
"The Obama administration’s new effort to reduce carbon emissions is an important, sensible and necessary step in reducing threat of global warming. It should serve as an example to other polluting nations around the world.... It’s not only something the American people should accept; it’s what they should demand."

EDITORIAL: Our view: A livable carbon rule; There will be pushback, but the EPA proposal takes a wise middle course for cutting emissions. (Roanoke Times [VA], 06/08/14)
"Industry lawyers are gearing up for a legal challenge, but public opinion is overwhelmingly on the side of reducing carbon in the air, even if consumers have to pay more for electricity."

Editorial: The EPA turns up the heat (Times-Union [NY] , 06/07/14)
"For all the alarmist, partisan noise, the reality is that EPA's proposal was only a modest step toward tackling the threat of global warming. ... A president whose push for cleaner energy has been thwarted by Congress at every turn is to be commended for making good on his threat to use what executive power he has to act on his own."

Editorial: The power of competition for electricity (Newsday [NY], 06/07/14)
"The Obama administration took a huge step last week in fighting climate change by proposing regulations to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. We now are on the cusp of a years-long process that could transform the nation's electrical industry, improve the air we breathe and reduce the risk of severe storms."

Editorial: Roses and Raspberries: June 6 (Corvallis Gazette-Times [OR], 06/06/14)
"Fourth District Congressman Peter DeFazio noted the downside: OR-7 needs our help: “This is great news, but the critical federal protections that have allowed OR-7 to start his new pack are in jeopardy. As we celebrate OR-7 and his new family, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is threatening to disregard science and take the gray wolf off the Endangered Species list. If the Service delists the gray wolf, states could declare open season on gray wolves like OR-7, his mate, and these new pups.” We agree with the 160,000 people who have signed their names to a petition asking the USFWS and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to continue protections for the gray wolf."

Editorial: Indiana needs to reduce its dependence on coal (Indianapolis Star [IN] , 06/06/14)
"In addition, there are important health and environmental reasons to move away from such a heavy dependence on coal. Indiana’s air quality, while substantially better than in the past, remains among the worst in the nation. Mercury, a byproduct of burning coal, pollutes many of the state’s waterways. And a strong majority of scientists are pushing for reductions in CO2 emissions in order to slow climate change.... the national trend away from coal is real and likely irreversible. Indiana can’t afford to get left behind in that transition. That means making a strong push for heightened energy efficiency"

Inquirer Editorial: Cleaner and cooler (Philadelphia Inquirer [PA], 06/06/14)
"The Obama administration's historic move to rein in carbon pollution from coal plants could help slow climate change, reduce respiratory illnesses, and foster cleaner energy and conservation. Alone, it's not enough to head off the harms of global warming, but it is an important and welcome step....The Obama administration has made the choice that stands to prevent the most damage to our health, safety, and economy."

Editorial: EPA changes are a down payment on a viable planet (Detroit Free Press [MI] , 06/06/14)
"It’s a sensible, long overdue initiative that anyone interested in the next generation’s health and welfare should welcome. The new rules announced by the Environmental Protection Agency would set tougher emissions standards for the nation’s power plants, which generate more than a third of the carbon dioxide emissions most implicated in climate change. ... Any hazards posed by the new guidelines are almost certainly dwarfed by the long-term benefits to Michigan’s physical and economic health."

EDITORIAL: Curbing carbon vs. being reckless (Herald-Review [Decatur, IL], 06/06/14)
"But the evidence of the reality and risks of climate change grows every day. The administration's plan to reduce carbon emissions is an attempt to curb those dangers, primarily by discouraging the use of coal for generating electricity. That should not be terribly hard ... The carbon limits would be worthwhile even if global warming weren't looming in our future."

EDITORIAL: Our View: Coal rules show true cost; Why it matters: New rules on carbon emissions from power plants change the way we think about the price of energy (Mankato Free Press [MN] , 06/06/14)
"Why it matters: New rules on carbon emissions from power plants change the way we think about the price of energy....The new rules should not be viewed as some onerous new government policy with no relation to reality. They are simply reflecting the realization that carbon emissions are a very real cost that should be factored into the price of our energy."

EDITORIAL: Our View: Clearing the air— Coal’s hidden costs must be part of debate (Joplin Globe [MO], 06/06/14)
"There will be costs going forward with new EPA-proposed emissions standards — no question — but the tradeoff will be 20.2 million fewer tons of pollution each year in Missouri....Greenhouse gases are altering our climate in ways that are affecting us all. More severe weather, which scientists say will result from climate change, and the costs and consequences of that have to be factored into the real price of coal."