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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Editorials and Opinion


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Editorial: Phasing out coal for energy is right — and smart (News Tribune [WA] , 05/23/14)
"Among sources of energy, “coal” is the four-letter word. It’s often dangerous to extract from the ground. Its shipment on coal trains clogs traffic in urban areas. And when it’s burned to produce electricity, either here or when shipped abroad, it adds to the greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming.... taking steps toward a coal-free future is a wise path for Washington."

EDITORIAL: A salute to our graduates and Memorial Day (Powell Tribune [WY], 05/22/14)
"Thumbs up to Diane Humetewa, who was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Humetewa, a member of the Hopi tribe, is the first Native American judge elevated to the federal bench. She is a former U.S. attorney in Arizona and is considered an expert on Native American legal issues. It’s fitting that Humetewa received her law degree in 1993 from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. O’Connor was the first woman named to the U.S. Supreme Court and even now, during her very active “retirement” from the high court, she inspires other women to follow in her footsteps."

Six Months Later, Filibuster Reform Means Republicans Delay Nominees They Confirm Anyway (Huffington Post, 05/21/14)
Jennifer Bendery: "So what's happened since then? Two things: The president's nominees have largely been confirmed, and Republicans wasted hours of Senate floor time delaying those nominees before voting to confirm them anyway. At least 126 hours, to be exact.... Republicans have voted to block 30 of President Barack Obama's nominees whom they ultimately ended up voting for. Thirteen of those nominees were even confirmed unanimously."

Editorial: Climate change is church's No. 1 pro-life issue (National Catholic Reporter, 05/20/14)
"The Catholic church should become a major player in educating the public to the scientific data and in motivating people to act for stands uniquely in a position to not only aid the science but also to engage in the ethical discussions essential to any consideration of global warming....Its solution lies as much in people of faith as in scientific data, as much or more in a love for God's creation as it does in our instinct for self-preservation."

Editorial: The Native American story you don't know (but should) (Arizona Republic, 05/20/14)
"Diane Humetewa just became the first Native American woman confirmed to sit on the federal court bench, and she'll do it in Arizona. ... While representation of Native American women in the professions is far lower than it should be, Humetewa is evidence that the highest success is within reach....Humetewa will be the only active Native American judge on the bench ... Her judicial skills are critically needed to help lower the federal judicial workload in Arizona. Our state includes great swaths of federal land and an international border that keep our federal courts among the busiest in the nation. Also confirmed as federal court judges last week were Steven Paul Logan, Rosemary Marquez, John Joseph Tuchi, Douglas L. Rayes and James Alan Soto. These judges will help assure justice is not delayed in Arizona, which earned "judicial emergency" status in 2011 because of crushing workloads due to a shortage of judges. What's more, our state has 21 tribal reservations, and all felony offenses committed there are tried in federal court, according to former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton. Humetewa will make the bench a little more reflective of the community it serves....We are proud of what this daughter of Arizona has accomplished."

Editorial: Global climate change is local, too (Charleston Gazette [WV] , 05/19/14)
"While it is a global phenomenon, people, and the animals and plants around them, will experience climate change locally, as well. Indeed, they are experiencing it now."

Editorial: More Specious Attacks on Reform (New York Times, 05/19/14)
"Conservative critics of President Obama’s health care reforms are engaged in two long-shot lawsuits to overturn the Affordable Care Act or disable one of its central provisions. Both lawsuits should be recognized for what they really are — attempts to use the courts to scuttle a law that Congressional Republicans have repeatedly tried, but failed, to repeal through the political process. One case, now before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, makes the specious argument that the entire law should be overturned because the bill did not “originate” in the House."

Please, Liberals: Don't Fall for Rand Paul's Latest Filibuster; David Barron would be a fantastic federal judge (New Republic Online, 05/19/14)
Sam Kleiner: "Paul has decided to go after Barron, a law professor at Harvard, who has been nominated for the First Circuit Court of Appeals ...he directed the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. Contrary to what Paul has said, that office is not in charge of making any kind of policy. The only thing the office does is respond to requests from members of the executive for opinions on whether certain actions would be constitutional.... Even critics of the drone program and the secrecy surrounding it have supported Barron’s nomination. Professor David Cole of Georgetown University, one of the most fervent critics of the administration on civil liberties grounds, has said that Barron is “a highly qualified lawyer who I know personally to be thoughtful, considerate, open-minded, and brilliant. His confirmation would put in place a judge who will be absolutely vigilant in his protection of civil liberties and his insistence that executive power be constrained by the rule of law.” I am amongst those who has criticized the administration’s secrecy on the drone program but I understand that we should not try to hold Barron’s nomination hostage over the administration’s decision on whether to release this memorandum, a decision that he has no control over. Paul’s filibuster is the latest in a series of Republican attempts to misconstrue the work of a lawyer to keep them off the bench."

Confirmation of Diane Humetewa and Hope for a New Era of Diversity in the Federal Courts (American Constitution Society Blog, 05/19/14)
Mary Smith, enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, President of the National Native American Bar Association: "On May 14, 2014, history was made with the confirmation of Diane Humetewa to be a district court judge in the United States District Court for the District Court of Arizona. Ms. Humetewa, an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe, is the first Native American woman in the history of our nation to serve on the federal judiciary, and will be the only American Indian serving as an Article III judge in the federal judiciary.... it is long overdue to have American Indian representation in the U.S. district courts as an Article III judge. This lack of diversity on the federal judiciary is felt profoundly throughout the Native American legal community and throughout Indian Country.... There are currently many Native American lawyers who are qualified and seeking nomination to serve in the federal judiciary. Hopefully, Ms. Humetewa’s confirmation will be the first of many to come, including on the federal appellate courts. Ms. Humetewa’s service will bring much-needed expertise on federal Indian law and tribal sovereignty to the federal courts."

Editorial: Senate Democrats should quit stalling on two judicial nominations (Washington Post, 05/17/14)
David "Barron, whom the president picked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, seems to be in less trouble, but his nomination has still been hobbled by concerns over memos he wrote at the Justice Department defending Mr. Obama’s policy on targeted drone killings. By various accounts, they are not nearly as controversial as, say, the Bush-era “torture memos” were. Nevertheless, activists and senators from both sides have been squabbling about getting full access to the classified documents as they consider Mr. Barron’s nomination, which has been associated with the broader political battle about U.S. drone policy. That conflation is not fair. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has set a vote on Mr. Barron in the coming days. Senators should confirm him."

Ronnie White gets a rare second chance (Kansas City Star, 05/16/14)
Steve Kraske: "Someone ought to write a folk song about Ronnie White. This is a man who reached the height of his profession, got kicked to the curb, then rose again. On Tuesday, a U.S. Senate committee will consider White’s nomination a second time for a lifetime appointment as a Missouri federal judge. ... The Senate rejected White on a party-line vote after Ashcroft opposed him, saying White was pro-criminal and weak on death penalty cases.... White went on to become the first black chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, which happens to be housed in a building where slaves were once sold on the steps.... Historians said it was unprecedented for a president to renominate someone the Senate had once rejected. Look at it this way: Obama is righting a wrong."

Editorial: Thanks for saving forests, wildlife; mountain trail helps fight climate change (Lexington Herald-Leader [KY] , 05/16/14)
"As we contemplate the expected slow slipping away of Antarctica's ice, Kentuckians can take some solace in the slow steady amassing of forest in a 120-mile Pine Mountain Wildlife Corridor....Recent scientific studies have more deeply documented the effects of climate change caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, including what scientists say is the now unavoidable melting over the next century of an ice shelf in western Antarctica and resulting rise in sea levels. Preserving forests provides a bastion against climate change and leaves a legacy for which future generations will be even more grateful."

Rubio's climate-change doubts ignore science: Editorial (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 05/15/14)
"[T]he freshman Republican senator from Florida discountedthe views of the vast majority of the world's climate scientists, who say human activity is contributing to climate change and rising sea levels.... Leaders face problems. They don't duck them."

Editorial: Climate change demands response and adaptation (Knoxville News Sentinel [TN] , 05/15/14)
"Tennessee and the rest of the Southeast will see erratic weather patterns and numerous environmental changes in the coming decades, according to a recently released federal report on climate change."

Editorial: Rubio wrong on climate change denial (Palm Beach Post [FL], 05/15/14)

Editorial Don't hold David Barron's judicial nomination hostage (Los Angeles Times, 05/14/14)
"[C]oncerns are threatening to derail the appointment of David J. Barron, President Obama's choice to serve as a judge on the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ...If senators want to read Barron's actual legal analysis, the administration has said they may peruse his writings privately before voting on the nomination. Instead of blocking Barron's nomination, they should take the administration up on its offer and move to a vote."

Editorial: NC needs a stronger response to climate change (News & Observer [NC], 05/14/14)
"The message behind that evidence is clear: Reduce the release of gases that are warming the earth and get ready to cope with the effects of climate change that are already in motion and inevitable. ... Despite the emerging threats, North Carolina’s leaders from the governor through the General Assembly down to many coastal communities are not sufficiently focused on preparing for climate change."

David Barron should be confirmed to US Court of Appeals (Boston Globe, 05/13/14)
Charles Fried and Laurence H. Tribe: "ALTHOUGH THE two of us frequently approach legal questions from different perspectives, and just as often disagree about the best answers to those questions, we share a respect for our Constitution and a reverence for the judicial process. That’s why, in spite of our disagreements, we agree that Harvard Law School professor David Barron is exceptionally well-qualified to hold a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and that the Senate should promptly confirm him."

Why Civil Libertarians and Drone Critics Should Support David Barron (Just Security, 05/12/14)
David Cole: "I have been as much a critic of the drones program as Sen. Paul, and have written often about my critiques of both the apparent scope of the program and the lack of transparency surrounding it. (See here, here & here). I continue to support transparency. But it would be a terrible mistake to hold up David Barron’s nomination over this issue. First, and most importantly, it is a mistake to conflate the issues of the appointment of David Barron and disclosure of the memos. Barron is a highly qualified lawyer who I know personally to be thoughtful, considerate, open-minded, and brilliant. ,,,Second, the administration has in fact made available to all Senators any and all memos Barron wrote concerning the targeting of al-Awlaki ... it is a huge mistake to let our legitimate concerns about transparency get in the way of the confirmation of a judge who will faithfully protect our liberties and hold government accountable – especially when the Senate already has been given access to all the information they need to exercise their “advise and consent” role. As a civil libertarian and drone critic, I have no hesitation in saying that David Barron should be confirmed."

Editorial: Judge rightly lets environmental groups in on coal ash case (Winston-Salem Journal [NC] , 05/12/14)
"Cheers to Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, whose ruling last week will allow environmental groups to have access to documents from Duke Energy and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources relating to groundwater leaching from the company’s coal ash dumps. Ridgeway ruled that a coalition of environmental groups can participate in the state’s enforcement action against Duke Energy for the leaching, ...That’s how it should be. Good for Judge Ridgeway."

91-0 (Southern District of Florida Blog, 05/12/14)
David Markus: "That was the vote today, confirming Robin Rosenbaum to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (filling Judge Rosemary Barkett's seat). CONGRATS TO JUDGE ROSENBAUM. She's only 47 years old and will be on the court a long time, helping to reshape it with other moderate judges appointed by President Obama -- Judges Jordan and Martin. Now another seat opens up on the district bench."

David Barron, Targeted Killing, and Rand Paul’s Wrongheaded Oped (Lawfare, 05/12/14)
Benjamin Wittes: Sen. "Paul’s oped at several points, including his opening sentence, conflates the asserted need to see the memos with both the substance of the issues in question and with Barron’s fitness to be a judge. It’s worth keeping these separate.... The problem, rather, is the combination of the imputation of presidential policy to Justice Department lawyers asked to evaluate legal questions and the willful misrepresentation of the legal views those lawyers generate to make what is actually cautious and restrained seem lawless and enabling of unbridled presidential power."

Editorial: Addressing global climate change (Dallas Morning News, 05/11/14)
"The Obama administration outlined a number of steps it is taking to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions, make cars and buildings more energy efficient, and tighten pollution standards. Those are all laudable steps, especially considering the outsized percentage of global emissions that come from this country. But it’s nowhere near enough....The next step is for America to lead so that other polluting countries get the message, too."

Journal Times editorial: State GOP right to reject measure on secession (Journal Times [Racine, WI], 05/11/14)
"Similarly, the party members were right to shoot down a resolution that said the Legislature should propose legislation to nullify certain federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act. If the Wisconsin Legislature or governor had the ability to nullify the Affordable Care Act, you can bet it would have been done already. The reality is that in our democracy, municipalities must follow state laws and states must follow federal laws."

Editorial: Our View: Cheers and Jeers (Times-News [ID] , 05/09/14)
"Jeers to climate change, which is already altering the world and the Northwest, says a sweeping federal report issued this week.... we’re already seeing its effects with increased tree die-off, insect infestations and jumping wildfire suppression costs.... Locally, longer droughts could set agriculture back for months..... t’s time we move past the political discussion and accept the data for what it is. Things like water conservation must be a priority going forward, especially amid our changing climate."

Editorial: Climate-change report validates our biggest fears (Aspen Times [CO], 05/09/14)
"We hope this report spurs elected leaders to address climate change for what it is — a real threat to our quality of life and the earth that we inhabit. As Sen. Mark Udall recently said in a Capitol Hill speech, in which he implored leaders to pass a Renewable Energy Standard, Congress must take action to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions."

Editorial: Shift from climate change debate to action (Newsday [NY], 05/09/14)
"On Long Island, climate change is a water issue, and the scientists describe major consequences: More than half of the nation's population lives in coastal communities that are "increasingly vulnerable" to climate change. That's us.... The Supreme Court's decision last month upholding the right of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollution from coal-fired power plants that blows from the Midwest to the East Coast was critically important to clearing hurdles for the next set of rules."

Editorial: Politics obscure science on climate change (Commercial Appeal [TN] , 05/09/14)
"There is an old saying among lawyers: If you can't argue the facts, argue the law, and if you can't do either, attack the opposing counsel."

Editorial: Climate change vs. GOP: Our view; Denial risks branding the party as one that refuses to participate in constructive governance. (USA Today, 05/09/14)
"The National Climate Assessment, released this week, adds to a mounting and overwhelming body of evidence that the effects of rising temperatures are here and now — and that even higher sea levels, more extreme weather and water shortages are in our future if nothing is done. ... denying that a problem even exists — which is common among the most vocal of Republicans — risks branding the party as one that is anti-science and refuses to participate in constructive governance."