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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Press Release

Earthjustice Criticizes Efforts to Rush Judicial Confirmations

Senators Expected to Call for Accelerated Confirmation Schedule in Response to Terrorist Attacks

November 8, 2001

Contact:Glenn Sugameli (202) 667-4500

Washington, DC-- Earthjustice called today’s expected push from some members of Congress to accelerate the judicial nomination process, “flawed thinking and a dangerous precedent.” At news conferences scheduled for today, several Senators, including Rick Santorum (R-PA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are expected to call for rushing through judicial nominees in the name of national security.

“There is no real threat to national security in making sure that each life-long appointee is the right choice for the job,” said Glenn Sugameli, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice. “The nomination process for judges should not be compromised, and it’s shameless that some in Congress might be attempting to use current events to achieve that goal.”

Sugameli points out that the Senate Judiciary Committee is continuing to address judicial confirmations at a reasonable pace. The committee has paid special attention to district court nominees who would be most directly affected by any terrorism-related issues. In addition, magistrate judges who handle warrants and other key issues are not subject to Senate confirmation and are currently in place in sufficient numbers. Appeals court judges would not have the opportunity to hear terrorist-related cases for many months, if not years.

“The real danger would be a rush to judgment on lifetime judicial nominees who will decide whether to strike down or enforce safety, health, and environmental protections,” said Sugameli. “The Senate is acting responsibly by approving judges after carefully considering each nominee's record on critical environmental and other issues. “

Once confirmed, federal judges hold their positions for life, suggesting that rash confirmations could be especially damaging. Environmental groups place particular importance on a sensible approach to reviewing nominees for the federal bench.

“For decades to come, newly confirmed judges will exert tremendous influence over the laws that protect our public health and environment,” Sugameli said. “The confirmations should not be approached hastily.”