Sen. Grassley Floor Statement: PROPER ROLE OF A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
(Republican - Iowa)
"Chief Justice Roberts maintained that the public wrongly thinks Justices view themselves as Republicans or as Democrats.... What is troubling is that a large segment of the population views the Justices as political.... I believe the public's perception is at least sometimes very warranted.... The Chief Justice ruled out that this perception has anything to do with what the Justices themselves have done. Instead, he attributes it to the Senate confirmation process.... He would be well-served to address the reality--not the perception--that too often there is little difference between the actions of the Court and the actions of the political branches. So, Physician, heal thyself."
SEN. KAINE FLOOR STATEMENT ON D.C. CIRCUIT & SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS
(Democrat - Virginia)
"I am concerned more broadly about what I consider sort of a pattern of nullification. If there is a law we don't like and we can't get it overturned, there seems to be efforts to defund it or even shut down government--or, in this case, what I would call the decapitation strategy: If you don't like the National Labor Relations Board, just don't appoint people to run the business or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms or, in this case, the DC Circuit. The DC Circuit has an allotted number of judicial positions. This isn't something the President chooses. Congress sets it on the advice of the judicial conference. The judicial conference has not suggested the number should be shrunk. There are 11 judges and 3 are currently vacant. The strategy of blocking appointments is sort of a nullification of law ... I think it is clear the asserted lack of workload is a pretext. It is nonexistent. It is a phantom argument which gets brought up whenever we want to but then abandoned whenever we want to. My evidence for that is pretty clear. There are two circuit courts--the Eighth and the Tenth Circuit--which have lower caseloads per judge than the DC Circuit, but we have been approving nominees for that circuit this year without raising any question about workload. ... The last thing I will say is another bit of evidence which I think is fair to put on the table in this question of whether there is a double standard for women. During the Presidency of President Obama, there has also been the nomination of two women to be on the U.S. Supreme Court. These were debates we followed. These two women--Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, enormously qualified, with bipartisan support from bar associations and others. Justice Sotomayor, when her vote was finally held here, more than 75 percent of the Senators in the minority party voted against her confirmation on the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan, when she was up for nomination, 88 percent of the members of the minority party voted against her confirmation to be on the Supreme Court."
Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Leave Town After Blocking Dozens Of Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont)
“We all know that justice delayed is justice denied. By denying confirmation votes to 15 of these 17 nominations, Senate Republicans are denying justice to the American people,” Leahy said. “By refusing to vote on these 15 nominations, Senate Republicans have declared that they are unconcerned about the millions of Americans who will continue to lack adequate access to our Federal courts and speedy justice.” “Senate Republicans have not explained their unprecedented obstruction of President Obama’s consensus nominees, they just try to pretend it does not exist,” Leahy said. “The American people know better, and they deserve better.”
Sen. Boxer Floor Statement on 111th Congress
(Democrat - California)
" We also confirmed some highly qualified and historic judicial nominees from California this Congress--including Judge Lucy Koh for the Northern District of California, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen for the Central District of California ... And we cannot rest until other important judicial nominees are confirmed, including professor Goodwin Liu for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Edward Chen for the Northern District of California, Judge Edward Davila for the Northern District of California, and Judge Anthony Battaglia for the Southern District of California."
Diversity matters on the Supreme Court (Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin)
(Democrat - Maryland)
"If you work for a living, if you're a woman, if you vote, if you care about the air we breathe or the water you drink, if you're a consumer, you need to be concerned about the Supreme Court.
The White House and the Senate should also be working to increase the diversity of the judges on the lower federal courts, which hear the vast majority of cases. ...With the nomination of Judge Albert Diaz of North Carolina, the Senate has another opportunity to increase diversity on the Fourth Circuit. If confirmed, Judge Diaz would be the first Latino judge to ever sit on the Fourth Circuit in its history.
President Obama is trying to reshape the federal judiciary to reflect American society. He has nominated women and minorities at an unprecedented rate. Of Obama’s 70 Appellate and District Court nominees, 44% are female and 43% are minorities. By contrast, of the 322 confirmed judges during the Bush administration, only 22% were women and less than 18% were minorities. President Obama has made great strides in trying to create a judiciary that is representative of the people. If only the Senate could move forward and actually confirm more of these fine jurists."
Women's right to vote celebates 90 years but struggle for equality continues
(Democrat - Nevada)
Sen. Harry Reid: "Democrats have worked to rectify this continuing inequality by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure that women are paid the same as men for the same work. Democrats also passed health care reform that bans insurance companies from charging women more than men for the same coverage on the basis of their gender, and that provides free preventative care for millions of women across America. And Democrats voted overwhelmingly to send Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, putting three female Justices on the Supreme Court for the first time in our nation’s history."