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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Press Release

Senate vote merely breaks tip off frozen judicial nominee iceberg

September 13, 2010


Glenn Sugameli, Staff Attorney, Judging the Environment

Washington, DC--

The following statement is from Glenn Sugameli, who founded in 2001 and still heads the environmental community’s Judging the Environment project and website on federal judicial nominations and related issues:

“Today’s long-overdue Floor vote to confirm Jane Stranch to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals merely breaks the tip off the iceberg of judicial nominations that have been frozen by Senate Republican obstruction.

“More than a year ago, President Obama nominated Jane Stranch with the strong support of her Tennessee home-state Republican U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both of whom testified at her hearing.  After a bi-partisan November Committee vote, Secret Republican holds blocked a Floor vote until after Sen. Alexander joined Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on July 20 to urge an up-and-down vote.

“At his September 10th news conference, President Obama finally urged Senate Republicans that ‘It’s time to stop playing games’ with judicial nominees.

“Indeed, it is past time; court access has suffered as federal judicial vacancies have soared to over 100, and those that the U.S. Courts has declared to be “judicial emergencies” have risen from 20 to 49.

“Republican Senators should allow Floor votes to confirm judicial nominees.  Filling vacancies now is necessary, as recognized by Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the president of the American Bar Association, and Editorials Boards and commentators from across the nation.

“Unprecedented, Senate Republican blanket, secret holds are unjustifiably denying Floor votes to many of President Obama’s Judiciary Committee approved judicial nominees, regardless of the merits.”

“The only alternative is impractical. The Senate cannot waste the day or more of Floor time required to force a final vote on each nominee, including many who were approved in Committee unanimously.”