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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Senator Stabenow Returns Blue Slip for Nomination of Justice Joan Larsen to Serve on Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
(Democrat - Michigan) 08/04/17
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced that she has returned the blue slip for Justice Joan Larsen’s nomination to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments,” said Senator Stabenow. “As part of my constitutional duty, I have consulted with Michigan’s legal community, reviewed Justice Larson’s background and qualifications and most recently, personally met with her. My meeting with Justice Larson was productive. I have returned the Senate’s procedural “blue slip” which will allow the nomination process to move forward with the Senate Judiciary Committee. I look forward to hearing more from Justice Larsen during her confirmation hearing in the Judiciary Committee and will continue to evaluate her nomination.”

Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin forward names to President Trump from bipartisan commission for Eastern District of Wisconsin judicial vacancy
(Democrat, Republican - Wisconsin) 08/04/17
A bipartisan state commission has made recommendations to Wisconsin's two senators on federal nominations since 1979. The senators take the commission's picks and forward them on to the White House for consideration.... Baldwin and Johnson jointly announced Friday that the commission had recommended Michael Aprahamian, Gordon Giampietro, Kevin Martens and Rick Sankovitz to fill an open seat in the federal court covering the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The senators said they forwarded the names to Trump on Thursday.

Sen. Baldwin on Michael Brennan 7th Circuit nomination in disregard of Wisconsin bipartisan process
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 08/04/17
The president’s nomination bypassed the state’s Federal Nominating Commission, which was established in Wisconsin in 1979 by U.S. Sens. William Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson. Since then, the state’s U.S. senators have used the commission to recommend to the president judicial nominees for every U.S. attorney and federal judicial vacancy. Current U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson renewed their commitment to utilizing the six-member commission earlier this year. On Friday, Baldwin said Trump’s nomination showed "complete disregard for a bipartisan process." "President Trump has decided to go it alone and turn his back on a Wisconsin tradition of having a bipartisan process for nominating judges," Baldwin said. "I am extremely troubled that President (Trump) has taken a partisan approach that disrespects our Wisconsin process."

Sen. Peters Returns Blue Slip for Justice Joan Larsen Nomination: Larsen Nominated to Serve on Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
(Democrat - Michigan) 08/04/17
Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he has returned the “blue slip” for the nomination of Justice Joan Larsen of Michigan to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is Senate tradition for home state Senators to consent to the consideration of a nomination by the Judiciary Committee through the “blue slip” process. “Federal judges make critical decisions that can directly impact the lives of Michiganders, and the Senate has an important constitutional responsibility to thoroughly review all nominees,” said Senator Peters. “I have returned the Senate 'blue slip,' and I look forward to learning more about Justice Larsen and her record as she continues through the Senate’s confirmation process. I appreciated having the opportunity to meet with Justice Larsen in person recently, and I will continue to do my due diligence and evaluate her qualifications and judicial approach along with my Senate colleagues.”

Joint Statement From Senators Lindsey Graham And Tim Scott On Judicial Nominations
(Republican - South Carolina) 08/04/17
“We very much appreciate President Trump nominating Don Coggins and Marvin Quattlebaum as federal district court judges for South Carolina. Both men are outstanding choices for these important positions. They are accomplished lawyers and highly respected in the legal field. They are also men of great character. Having two more federal district court judges in South Carolina is much-needed and overdue. “We again express our gratitude to President Trump for putting these nominees forward. We expect they will be overwhelmingly confirmed by the members of the United States Senate.”

Sen. Peters on blue slip for Joan Larsen Sixth Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Michigan) 08/04/17
Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters said Friday they have returned blue slips for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, allowing her nomination to the federal appellate bench to advance without saying whether they would vote for her. ... Peters said he also expects to learn more about Larsen during the upcoming confirmation process. “Federal judges make critical decisions that can directly impact the lives of Michiganders, and the Senate has an important constitutional responsibility to thoroughly review all nominees,” said Peters of Bloomfield Township. “I appreciated having the opportunity to meet with Justice Larsen in person recently, and I will continue to do my due diligence and evaluate her qualifications and judicial approach along with my Senate colleagues.”

Sen. Stabenow on blue slip for Joan Larsen Sixth Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Michigan) 08/04/17
Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters said Friday they have returned blue slips for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, allowing her nomination to the federal appellate bench to advance without saying whether they would vote for her.... “Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments,” Stabenow said in a statement. “As part of my constitutional duty, I have consulted with Michigan’s legal community, reviewed Justice Larson’s background and qualifications and, most recently, personally met with her. My meeting with Justice Larson was productive. I have returned the Senate’s procedural ‘blue slip,’ which will allow the nomination process to move forward with the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Stabenow of Lansing added that she looks forward to hearing more from Larsen during her confirmation hearing and that she would continue to evaluate her nomination.

Sen. Ron Johnson on Michael Brennan 7th Circuit nomination
(Republican - Wisconsin) 08/04/17
A bipartisan state commission has made recommendations to Wisconsin's two senators on federal nominations since 1979. The senators take the commission's picks and forward them on to the White House for consideration. The six-member commission issued another call for applicants for the 7th Circuit opening in February. None of the applicants, including Brennan, garnered the requisite five votes to win a recommendation.... Johnson issued a statement praising Trump for choosing Brennan. "Our nation's judicial system will be well served once he is confirmed by the Senate," the statement said. A Johnson spokesman didn't immediately reply to a question about Baldwin's criticism of the pick breaking with Wisconsin tradition.

Sen. Stabenow interview on blue slip for Joan Larsen Sixth Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Michigan) 08/04/17
Stabenow said she was very impressed by Larsen when she met with her last week. She said she'd spent a "tremendous amount of time" going through Larsen's record and past decisions over the last few months and believes the process should now move forward. "In my judgement, there's no reason for her not to proceed," Stabenow said.

Sen. McConnell Comments on Nomination of Judge Robert Wier of Kentucky to Serve on U.S. District Court
(Republican - Kentucky) 08/03/17
“I commend President Trump on his nomination of Judge Robert Wier of Versailles to serve as a district judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Through his service as a U.S. magistrate judge, Robert has gained the qualifications and experience necessary to excel in this new role. I look forward to the Senate confirming his nomination.”

Senator Roberts Applauds President’s Nomination of Holly Teeter To be Federal District Court Judge for Kansas District
(Republican - Kansas) 08/03/17
“Ms. Teeter is a well-qualified and impressive nominee who has my full support to serve Kansans as a federal court judge ... I will urge my colleagues to approve her nomination.”

Sen. Moran Applauds Nomination of Holly Teeter to be Federal District Court Judge for District of Kansas
(Republican - Kansas) 08/03/17
“Ms. Teeter is one of the brightest young legal minds in our state,” said Sen. Moran. “Her wide variety of legal experiences make her an excellent choice for the bench. I urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to swiftly act on her nomination so the full Senate can quickly confirm Ms. Teeter.”

Sens. Fischer & Sasse: President Nominates Steve Grasz for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
(Republican - Nebraska) 08/03/17
The senators recommended Grasz to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit earlier this year. “I want to congratulate Steve Grasz on his nomination to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit,” said Senator Fischer. “Steve has sterling credentials and impressive experience; his cases have been before the highest courts in Nebraska and our nation. Moreover, Steve’s temperament, integrity, and character are absolutely superb. I’m pleased to see the president follow through on our recommendation of this outstanding Nebraskan, and I look forward to seeing him swiftly confirmed by the Senate.” “Steve Grasz is a by-the-book kind of guy and that’s exactly what the 8th Circuit needs,” said Senator Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “For decades, Steve has served Nebraskans with integrity and common-sense. As a constitutionalist, he knows that a judge’s job isn’t to make up laws but to apply them fairly to the facts.”

Sen. Isakson Applauds Senate Confirmation of VA Deputy Secretary, Five Additional Nominee
(Republican - Georgia) 08/03/17
“I applaud my colleagues in the Senate for their swift confirmation of these exceptional nominees. I have no doubt they will do great work on behalf of our nation’s veterans. I look forward to working with each of them in their future roles at the VA and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims,” said Isakson.... Amanda L. Meredith, Michael P. Allen, and Joseph L. Toth were also confirmed to be judges on the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

[Sen.] Strange votes to confirm AL’s Newsom to Federal bench
(Republican - Alabama) 08/01/17
Senator Luther Strange heralded the step as a milestone of President Trump’s effort to fill the nation’s judicial vacancies. ... “The people of Alabama made their voices heard overwhelmingly last November in electing President Trump because they know that a new generation of judges stands ready to restore respect for the rule of law,” said Strange. “As with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, I was proud to vote for Kevin Newsom, and I look forward to his long tenure as a defender of the Constitution.”

Sen. Shelby Voices Support for Newsom Ahead of Senate Confirmation
(Republican - Alabama) 08/01/17
"I believe President Trump has made the right decision in selecting Kevin to sit on the Eleventh Circuit."

Sen. Feinstein Floor Statement: NOMINATION OF KEVIN NEWSOM [and Kallon and Erickson nominations and blue slips]
(Democrat - California) 07/31/17
"I intend to support Mr. Newsom's nomination.... I voted to invoke cloture on Mr. Newsom's nomination today. My decision on every nominee will be based on that nominee's individual record. I also want to briefly remind my colleagues why we are even considering Mr. Newsom's nomination in the first place. In February 2016, President Obama nominated Alabama U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon for this very same vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit. Today Mr. Newsom was voted on because Senators Shelby and Strange returned blue slips for his nomination. I would like the Senate to also know that we held a hearing just last week that included Judge Ralph Erickson to be a judge on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals because Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp returned their blue slips. This shows the importance of the blue slip helping move nominations through the process. Democratic Senators are conducting their due diligence on these nominees before returning their blue slips, and in the Erickson nomination, the return of the blue slip is bipartisan. Many of the current nominees have voluminous records, and we need to allow home- State Senators to do their work."

Sen. Coons on judicial nominations and selection
(Democrat - Delaware) 07/27/17
"This will be the single most important legacy of the Trump administration," Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Business Insider. "They will quickly be able to put judges on circuit courts all over the country, district courts all over the country, that will, given their youth and conservatism, will have a significant impact on the shape and trajectory of American law for decades. "I do think this deserves more attention given the consequence, the significance of what will eventually be a wholesale change among the federal judiciary," he continued...."What strikes me about the Trump administration's judicial-nomination process is how quickly they have moved," Coons said.... Coons said he and his fellow Democratic senator from Delaware, Tom Carper, were working with a judicial nominating advisory committee to help fill two district court vacancies in the state. Coons added that he expected the White House to consult him and Carper, and Grassley to continue the blue-slip practice. But he said that so far he felt that Grassley and the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, had done an admirable job in dealing with the massive number of nominations coupled with intense work involving the investigation into Russia's election interference.... Coons attributed the discrepancy in vacancies to "unprecedented obstruction by the Republican majority in the Senate in the latter years of the Obama administration" that led to many of these vacancies remaining unfilled.... Coons said the administration had clearly relied on The Federalist Society to do "virtually all their selection and vetting" of the nominees, adding that both the speed of nominations and the age of the nominees "have been striking." "Most have come before the committee so far have been a decade younger than the average nominee in previous administrations," he said. "And, you know, this partly reflects a long-term strategy by conservative judicial activists who over the last 30 years have developed a very strong bench, pun intended, of highly qualified, young lawyers who are educated and from well-regarded law schools, and are active in The Federalist Society, and had clerkships with senior judges, and are poised to be nominated and confirmed to take advantage of these openings."

SEN. HOEVEN: JUDGE RALPH ERICKSON EXCEPTIONALLY QUALIFIED TO SERVE ON THE 8TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: Senator Introduces Erickson at Judiciary Committee Hearing, Presses for Confirmation
(Republican - North Dakota) 07/25/17
“A longtime North Dakotan, Judge Erickson has demonstrated a deep respect for the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Hoeven. “He is incredibly qualified to serve on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. I am confident he will be an excellent addition to the second highest court in the United States and I encourage the committee to approve his nomination quickly.”

Sen. Heitkamp Introduces Judge Ralph Erickson at Senate Hearing for his Nomination
(Democrat - North Dakota) 07/25/17
[VIDEO] Senator Heidi Heitkamp introduced Judge Ralph Erickson at a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Erickson’s nomination to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which includes North Dakota.

Sen. Feinstein Remarks on Stephen Schwartz Court of Federal Claims nomination
(Democrat - California) 07/25/17
"In my longer statement I also outline some concerns I have with Mr. Schwartz’s nomination. I understand he has never litigated in the court he is being nominated for, nor is he even admitted to practice before that court.... In 2014, President Obama nominated five people to the Court of Federal Claims. All of them had between 20 and 37 years of legal experience each. All of them had experience litigating before the Court of Federal Claims. All of them were voted out of Committee by voice vote—as in, they had wide bipartisan support because they were nonpartisan, highly qualified nominees. And all of them were blocked from final confirmation for the next two years by Senator Tom Cotton, who claimed that the Court of Federal Claims’ workload meant that it did not need any new judges. Today, we are considering the nomination of Stephen Schwartz to this same court. Mr. Schwartz has only nine years of legal experience. Based on the materials Mr. Schwartz submitted to the Committee, it appears that Mr. Schwartz has never litigated before the Court of Federal Claims. Indeed, he has not been admitted to practice before the Court he has been nominated to join. He has only been chief counsel in two cases that have reached final appellate or trial court decisions. Mr. Chairman, I have serious concerns about whether this nominee is qualified at this point in his career to serve on the court to which he has been nominated.”

Sen. Feinstein Remarks on the blue slip process
(Democrat - California) 07/25/17
“The purpose of the blue slip is to encourage meaningful consultation between the White House and home state senators on nominees. Already this year, Judge Amul Thapar was confirmed as a judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals from Kentucky, and Kevin Newsom is awaiting confirmation to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals from Alabama. Both of these nominations were only possible because Chairman Grassley consistently honored the blue slip rule for circuit court nominees under President Obama. President Obama had nominated other people to fill those Kentucky and Alabama vacancies, but the home state senators did not return blue slips for nine and ten months, respectively, and those nominations expired. That is the prerogative of home state senators when it comes to blue slips, and it is a prerogative that Senator Grassley and Senator Leahy both honored as chairmen. Senators deserve all the time they need to review a nominee’s record and make a decision about the blue slip.”

A NEW FEDERAL JUDGE FOR IDAHO: GUEST COLUMN SUBMITTED BY U.S. SENATORS MIKE CRAPO AND JIM RISCH
(Republican - Idaho) 07/24/17
"In spite of the hyper-partisan climate in our nation’s capital, in a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 100-0, the U.S. Senate recently confirmed Judge David Nye to serve as the next United States District Judge for the District of Idaho. ... To address the need for an additional judge in Idaho, the Idaho Congressional Delegation continues to press for the addition of a third judgeship.... Judge Nye was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho. He was previously nominated to the same position by President Barack Obama in 2016 and approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 114th Congress concluded without completing the confirmation process."

Sen. Murray: “Unconscionable” Senate GOP Pushing to Confirm Anti-Women, Anti-LGBTQ Nominee for Lifetime Circuit Court Appointment
(Democrat - Washington) 07/19/17
"There are so many troubling aspects of Bush’s record, previous statements, writings, and legal views—they should alarm every American. From his views on LGBTQ rights and about race and campaign finance reform, to his vision for the environment and of our election laws.” “For nearly a decade, Bush has made countless inflammatory, offensive, and troubling comments on a number of issues important to women .... this not a normal nominee, and that this is someone who lacks the qualifications and character and temperament to be appointed to a lifetime position on the federal bench"

Sen. Durbin Urges No Vote On John Bush Nomination To 6th Circuit Court Of Appeals
(Democrat - Illinois) 07/19/17
In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) urged his colleagues to oppose the nomination of John Bush, who has been nominated to serve a lifetime appointment on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. ... “The Federal Courts of Appeal have a significant impact on the lives of all Americans. Because the Supreme Court only reviews a limited number of cases each year, decisions by the Circuit Courts represent the final word on thousands of legal matters that involve a host of important issues. The Senate must take seriously its obligation to vet candidates for the Circuit Courts. The Senate has to take very seriously its obligation to consider candidates for this important court. We have to make sure they have the qualifications, the temperament, and the judgement to serve for the rest of their lives. Based upon Mr. Bush’s record and his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, I believe he falls short of this standard,” said Durbin. “This vote, when it comes to his nomination, is not a close call. It is clear that Mr. Bush has friends in high places, but he’s demonstrated a temperament and a judgment which we should not put in a lifetime position on the federal Courts of Appeal. I urge my colleagues to oppose his nomination.”

Senators Markey, Warren Re-Convene Bipartisan Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations: Governor Baker and Mass. Bar Association Praise Addition of Newest Committee Member, Who Previously Oversaw Judicial Selection as Aide to Governor Romney
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 07/18/17
"I thank the dedicated men and women on this Advisory Committee, including newest member Elissa Flynn-Poppey, who are willing to commit their time and expertise for the benefit of Massachusetts," said Senator Markey. "Their participation is a critical part of the nomination process and will help ensure judicial vacancies are filled efficiently and by qualified individuals who hold the esteem and respect of peers, colleagues and their communities." "I'm glad to join Senator Markey in reconvening the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations, and I am very pleased to welcome Elissa Flynn-Poppey to the committee. Elissa brings valuable expertise to this bipartisan process," Senator Warren said. "The bipartisan Advisory Committee plays an important role ensuring that federal courts in Massachusetts are comprised of highly qualified and fair-minded judges. I look forward to receiving the committee's recommendations."