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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Grassley Statement at Executive Business Meeting on District Court Nominations
(Republican - Iowa) 06/15/17
"We’ll vote on two District Court Judges today: David Nye for Idaho [and] Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma. These nominees were nominated by President Obama last year and we held a hearing for them then. When they were re-nominated by President Trump this year, I gave Members who were not on the Committee last Congress an opportunity to ask them written questions if they wanted to, just like I did in the past for President Obama’s nominees. Both these nominees have strong home state support and were reported out of this Committee last Congress by voice vote."

SENS. CRAPO, RISCH PRAISE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVAL OF JUDGE DAVID NYE: NOMINATION REPORTED TO THE FULL SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION
(Republican - Idaho) 06/15/17
"I thank Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein for prompt action on Judge Nye’s nomination. I welcomed the opportunity to reintroduce Judge Nye to my colleagues and appreciate the unanimous approval by the Committee,” said Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The panel’s endorsement of Judge Nye last year and today demonstrates his strong credentials and outstanding service to the legal community. I will be working closely with my Senate colleagues to advance Judge Nye through the full Senate and hope he can be confirmed quickly.” "I am grateful to my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, including Mike Crapo, for making Judge Nye’s approval a priority on their panel. Judge Nye is a sound and principled jurist who has my full confidence. I look forward to seeing his nomination come before the full Senate, where I will strongly advocate for his confirmation." Judge Nye has been 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 Obama in 2016 and was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 114th Congress concluded without completing the confirmation process. The Trump administration, in consultation with both Crapo and Risch, re-nominated Judge Nye

Sen. Crapo on Judge Nye vote pending in panel
(Republican - Idaho) 06/11/17
Idaho Judge David Nye’s nomination to be the state’s next federal district judge is on the agenda for the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, and it appears a committee vote is likely. Nye already won unanimous approval from the committee after a hearing in June of 2016, but the nomination never came up for a vote in the full Senate. Last month, at the urging of Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, President Trump re-nominated Nye. Idaho has been down to just one active federal district judge since longtime Judge Edward Lodge took senior status on July 3, 2015. The federal court system has declared a judicial emergency in Idaho due to the shortage of judges, and visiting judges have been brought in from other states to hear cases. Lindsay Nothern, Crapo’s press secretary, said he expects a voice vote in the committee to approve Nye. “He’s been through the process before. We do expect his nomination to move forward,” Nothern said. Crapo and Risch negotiated with the Obama Administration for a year and a half before settling on Nye as a nominee acceptable to both President Obama, a Democrat, and the two Idaho senators, both Republicans. The long process included considering and rejecting dozens of other possible nominees.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley, Prepared Statement, Executive Business Meeting
(Republican - Iowa) 06/08/17
"Several nominees are on the agenda for the first time today, and I understand the other side would like to hold them over. They include two district court nominees: - David Nye for Idaho - Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma These nominees were nominated by President Obama last year and we held a hearing for them then. When they were re-nominated by President Trump this year, I gave Members who were not on the Committee last Congress an opportunity to ask them written questions if they wanted to, just like I did in the past for President Obama’s nominees. I look forward to voting their nominations out of Committee next week."

Portman, Brown Announce Members of Bipartisan Commission to Recommend Candidates for Judicial Vacancies in Ohio's Southern and Northern Districts
(Republican - Ohio) 06/05/17
Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced the members of the bipartisan judiciary advisory commission that will assist them in identifying the best candidates to fill vacancies on the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Ohio. ... The bipartisan advisory commission process was first established by Sen. Brown and former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), and Sens. Portman and Brown have carried on the tradition.... The President of the United States nominates U.S. district court judges based on recommendations from U.S. senators.

Sens. Rubio, Nelson Introduce Bill Authorizing Additional Florida Judgeships
(Republican - Florida) 05/25/17
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced the Florida Federal Judicial Relief Act, legislation that would authorize one, six, and three additional judgeships in the northern, middle, and southern districts of Florida, respectively. The bill also converts an existing judgeship from temporary to permanent for the southern district of Florida. These proposals are based on the recommendations of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is the national policy-making body for the federal courts and makes recommendations on judgeships every two years. “The overwhelming caseload facing our judges is an undue burden for both our judicial system and the people of Florida,” said Rubio. “By following the recommendations of the Judicial Conference in authorizing these judgeships, we can help ensure a more efficient judicial system. I am proud to introduce this bill with Senator Nelson and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to authorize these important judgeships for Florida as it will have short and long term benefits for our judges and residents.”

Sen. Hatch on filling Utah federal district court vacancy
(Republican - Utah) 05/08/17
Even with the announcement of the new nominees, other Republicans are eager for the Trump White House to send more candidates for the judiciary, particularly for vacancies in their home states. “We’re concerned,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee. There is one judicial vacancy in Utah, which has been open since 2014. “We’ve already made our suggestions. They know that we’re interested in getting that taken care of.”

Sens. Inhofe, Lankford Applaud Nomination of Scott Palk for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
(Republican - Oklahoma) 05/08/17
Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford (R-Okla.) today applauded President Trump’s nomination of Judge Scott Palk to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma . “By nominating Scott Palk to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, President Trump is upholding his campaign promise to nominate to the federal bench principled jurists who are committed to enforcing the Constitution’s limits on federal power,” Inhofe said. “Scott has an extensive record of distinguished service both a prosecutor and as an assistant dean and assistant general counsel at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He is well known in Oklahoma for his honesty, integrity and his fair and balanced approach in applying the law. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate on his quick and fair confirmation.” “Scott is a great candidate to serve as a federal judge for the US District Court for Oklahoma because of his dedication to uphold the rule of law,” Lankford said. “Scott’s years of work in Oklahoma make him exceptionally qualified to serve as one of Oklahomans federal judges, and I applaud President Trump for nominating a strong candidate that will represent our state and nation well.”

SENS. CRAPO, RISCH WELCOME WHITE HOUSE NOMINATION OF JUDGE DAVID NYE: NYE NOMINATED TO SERVE AS IDAHO’S NEXT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
(Republican - Idaho) 05/08/17
Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch today welcomed the nomination of Idaho District Judge David C. Nye of Pocatello by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho. Judge Nye was previously nominated to the same position by President Obama in 2016 and approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 114th Congress concluded without completing the confirmation process. The Trump administration, in consultation with both Crapo and Risch, re-nominated Judge Nye as one of the first district judicial nominations sent to the Senate by the White House. “I thank the President for moving quickly to renominate Judge Nye. His unanimous approval by the Judiciary Committee last year demonstrates Judge Nye’s eminent qualifications of strong credentials and service to the legal community,” said Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the nomination. “According to the Judicial Conference, Idaho, like many other states, is facing a judicial emergency and needs a second District Court judge to help manage its caseload. I will be working with my colleagues to move Judge Nye’s confirmation and hope that he will be confirmed quickly.” "Today's announcement is a win for Idahoans and our state's judicial system," said Senator Risch. "Judge Nye is a sound and principled jurist who has my full confidence. I will continue to work with my colleagues to have his nomination confirmed as expeditiously as possible, as I have since day one."

Idaho Senators feel Judge Nye renomination could expedite confirmation
(Republican - Idaho) 05/07/17
In Idaho, Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, had urged the Trump administration to re-up Nye's nomination this year, Crapo said in an interview last week. “He’s already been through an FBI process and through the [American Bar Association] process,” Crapo said of Nye. “And so although there probably has to be a short, quick redo of that, we feel [the confirmation] could be expedited.”

Sen. Rubio Press Release: Carlos López-Cantera to Chair Statewide Panel Vetting Federal Judicial Candidates
(Republican - Florida) 05/04/17
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) will once again constitute the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) to identify highly qualified individuals as finalists to become U.S. district judges in each of the three judicial districts in Florida. ... “I am extremely pleased to have Carlos López-Cantera serve as statewide chair of Florida’s Federal Judicial Nominating Commission,” said Rubio. “Carlos is well-suited for this position and I am confident he is dedicated to this important process and will successfully lead the commission in identifying exceptional candidates to serve on the federal bench in Florida. I look forward to reviewing the commission’s selections and working with Senator Nelson and the president to ensure that these critical positions are filled.”... The commission will send the names of the finalists to Senators Rubio and Nelson for their individual and independent review and, if neither senator objects, those names will be forwarded to the White House for the president’s consideration. Both senators reserve their constitutional rights to render advice and consent on any candidate or nominee.

Sen. Bill Cassidy forms panel to vet judicial, U.S. attorney nominees; [Sen.] John Kennedy goes it alone
(Republican - Louisiana) 05/02/17
"[O]pen jobs include 129 seats on the federal bench, of which four are in district courts in Louisiana. ... Cassidy has appointed a team to vet candidates. The group is led by his brother, lawyer David Cassidy .... David Cassidy said the committee has not yet started vetting candidates for the various open positions, in part because it’s been difficult to get the whole group in one room at the same time. Kennedy, meanwhile, is doing his own vetting, according to a spokeswoman."

Sen. Risch on White House agrees to re-nominate Judge Nye for long-vacant Idaho federal judgeship
(Republican - Idaho) 04/27/17
The White House has signed off on the re-nomination of Idaho Judge David Nye to fill Idaho’s long-vacant federal district judgeship, Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch said Thursday.... Nye won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee last June, but his nomination never came up for a vote in the full Senate ... Though Crapo and Risch continued pushing for the Idaho nomination, they had to start over after the election, to get new President Donald Trump to sign on. "We have been in constant communication with the White House regarding Judge Nye," Risch said Thursday. "The White House has assured us that he will be in the first wave of judges to advance, and we anticipate that happening soon."

Sen. Crapo on White House agrees to re-nominate Nye for long-vacant Idaho judgeship
(Republican - Idaho) 04/27/17
“The White House has told me that Judge Nye will be included in the very first group of district judicial nominees that it sends to the Senate,” Crapo said. “While I have yet to be given a definitive timeline for that renomination, I will be active in ushering Judge Nye through the Judiciary Committee once his nomination is received.” Nye won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee last June, but his nomination never came up for a vote in the full Senate, ..... Though Crapo and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch continued pushing for the Idaho nomination, they had to start over after the election, to get new President Donald Trump to sign on.... “He previously appeared before and was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee,” Crapo said, “so I will be working with my colleagues to move his renomination quickly.”

Judiciary Committee Member Sen. Lindsey Graham hopes blue slip process does not change
(Republican - South Carolina) 04/23/17
Also unclear is whether the traditional practice will persist in which both senators from a state, regardless of party, consult with the White House on a nominee and then have to approve of the nominee for the Senate Judiciary Committee to move forward.... Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a committee member, says he thinks the future of the bipartisan process is "the real fight" going forward. He says he hopes it doesn't change. "I think there's a lot of desire to keep that power within the Senate," he said.

Sen. Toomey supports renomination of Obama judicial nominee
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 04/13/17
On whether he would support a renomination of U.S. Magistrate Susan Paradise Baxter, a Democrat from Erie, to fill Erie’s vacant federal judge seat. Toomey supported Baxter when President Barack Obama nominated her in 2015, but with a new president, the process to fill vacancies has reset: “I am supportive. I went to great lengths to try to get Judge Baxter across the line. We weren’t quite able to do that. But we’ll have another opportunity.”

Sen. Grassley on circuit and district court nominee blue slip requirement
(Republican - Iowa) 04/07/17
One hurdle is the “blue slip” process, in which senators are asked to review judicial nominees who are slated to take seats in their home states. If both senators from the state don’t return their blue slips, the nomination is usually put on hold. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, told reporters Friday that although “there’s been some exception to the blue slip rule,” he generally intends to follow the tradition for Mr. Trump’s nominees.

Sens. Rubio and Bill Nelson letter asks President Trump to keep judicial picks they sent to Obama
(Republican - Florida) 03/16/17
"For the past several decades, Florida's US. Senators have worked in a bipartisan manner to provide finalists for US. District Court vacancies in our state. These finalists are recommended by the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission of Florida. Comprised of leading lawyers throughout Florida and members of the general public, the INC conducts a thorough selection process that identifies finalists for such vacancies. On April 28, 2016, President Obama nominated Patricia Barksdale and William Jung for two US. District Court vacancies in the Middle District and Philip Lammens for the US. District Court vacancy in the Northern District. These individuals were all INC-recommended finalists, and we indicated our support for their confirmation by favorably submitting blue slips to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Because there was no timely action taken on these nominations last Congress, we respectfully request that you nominate these highly qualified individuals for the US. District Court vacancies as soon as possible. We have no objections to these individuals, subject to any further review of their records and background. Moreover, timely action is needed as the two vacancies in the Middle District are considered judicial emergencies."

[Sen. Portman] Portman, Brown Request Applications for U.S. District Judgeship Vacancies in Ohio's Southern and Northern Districts
(Republican - Ohio) 03/13/17
“We wish both Judge Frost and Judge Nugent well in their retirement, and thank them for their years of public service,” said Portman. “The commission will weigh the best candidates and give Ohioans an opportunity to have input on the selection.” NOTE: The President of the United States nominates U.S. District Court Judges based on recommendations from U.S. Senators. Nominees must then be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate. U.S. District Courts are general trial courts which hear both civil and criminal cases. In the interest of identifying the best possible judicial candidates for Ohio’s federal bench, Portman and Brown are working to establish a bipartisan judicial advisory commission. Members of the commission will be chosen by both senators to review applications and recommend candidates for this vacancy. This is a process that was first established by Brown and former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH).

[Sen. Toomey quote] Senators Casey and Toomey Continue Bipartisan Agreement on District Court Vacancies
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 03/10/17
Sens. Casey and Toomey look forward to continuing this bipartisan process under President Trump, and appointing individuals who demonstrate the intelligence, experience, and character to serve Pennsylvania well on the federal bench. ... "Since 2011, Sen. Casey and I have worked to confirm 14 qualified jurists to fill district court vacancies on the federal bench. This is more than every other state except California and Texas during that time," said Sen. Toomey. "We will continue our bipartisan agreement to ensure that the most capable, knowledgeable and ethical candidates become federal judges serving Pennsylvania." ... Separate judicial nomination advisory panels will be established in the Eastern District and Western District of Pennsylvania ... Each panel will be made up of 20 members, including two co-chairs. Sens. Casey and Toomey will each appoint nine panel members and one co-chair.... There are currently no vacancies in the Middle District.

Sen. Toomey expresses continued support for Susan Paradise Baxter
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 02/28/17
Toomey and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, supported Obama's nomination of Baxter, 60, a Democrat from Erie who has been a federal magistrate judge for 22 years. Toomey will support a renomination of Baxter under Trump, a Republican, said Toomey's spokesman, Steve Kelly. "Sen. Toomey believes it is crucial to place a sitting judge at the federal courthouse in Erie, which has remained vacant for years," Kelly said. "He believes that Judge Baxter has the intellect, experience and integrity to serve as a federal judge. "Sen. Toomey looks forward to working with Sen. Casey and the White House to fill the vacancy at the Erie courthouse and other pending vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania."

Sen. Sasse Announces Nebraska Justice and Judicial Nominations Advisory Commission
(Republican - Nebraska) 02/14/17
Sen. Sasse Press Release: "Senator Sasse’s Nebraska Justice and Judicial Nominations Advisory Commission is an independent body of well-respected Nebraska leaders that will review applications, interview candidates, and make recommendations to Senator Sasse. Each Senator makes his or her recommendation to the White House. After the White House sends a nomination to the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its confirmation process which, by longstanding precedent, requires the approval of both home-state senators."

Sen. Young: Federal Judge Applications
(Republican - Indiana) 02/14/17
"Indiana currently has four judicial vacancies: three in the District Court (Northern, Fort Wayne; Northern, South Bend; Southern, Indianapolis) and one in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Qualified individuals can apply for these positions by downloading the application form here and returning it following the instructions on the form prior to the March 13, 2017 deadline. United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Application Northern District Court Application Southern District Court Application"

Indiana Senators on judicial vacancies
(Republican - Indiana) 02/14/17
Indiana Sen. Todd Young is taking applications for several vacancies in federal federal court ... Young has spoken with Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly about the process, according to Donnelly’s office. Applicants are being sought for judicial vacancies in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne division and South Bend division; and U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis division.... Applications are due by March 13. “Indiana currently has multiple vacancies that are creating a strain on our justice system,” Young said in a press release. “It’s my mission to recommend qualified, trustworthy Hoosiers to the President to fill these roles as soon as possible.” In January 2016, former President Barack Obama nominated two candidates for the Indiana judicial vacancies. Winfield Ong, nominee for the Southern District of Indiana, was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee but never received a full vote by the U.S. Senate. Myra Selby, nominee for the 7th Circuit, was not given a hearing by the Judiciary Committee because former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats withheld his support.

Sen. Ron Johnson: WISCONSIN SENATORS RENEW AGREEMENT ON WISCONSIN JUDICIAL COMMISSION AND CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR U.S. ATTORNEY VACANCIES
(Republican - Wisconsin) 02/13/17
Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson renewed their agreement establishing the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission to advance federal nominations, including vacant federal judgeships and U.S. Attorney positions in Wisconsin. This process has already led to the confirmation of James Peterson in the Western District of Wisconsin and Pamela Pepper in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Commission shall consist of six Wisconsinites who are members of the Wisconsin State Bar. Three members will be appointed by each Senator, who will each have a Co-Chair on the Commission. ... Applications for Wisconsin’s Seventh Circuit vacancy will be available on March 15, with applications due on April 29 and a recommendation to the Senators provided by July 13, 2017. Applications for the Eastern District Court vacancy will be available on April 29, with applications due on May 29, and a recommendation to the Senators provided on or before August 12, 2017. ... “This is the first step in filling important law enforcement and judicial vacancies in our state,” Senator Johnson said. “Wisconsinites deserve high quality legal minds to administer the law, and I encourage candidates who value fidelity to our Constitution and the rule of law to apply for these positions. This nomination process has worked well in the past, resulting in the confirmation of James Peterson and Pamela Pepper to the federal bench. I am confident it will work again in the future.”

Sens. Fischer, Sasse Announce Judicial Nominations Process for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
(Republican - Nebraska) 02/10/17
Nebraska’s U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse announced the application process for filling a forthcoming vacancy in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Last week, Chief Judge William Jay Riley announced he will transition from active service to senior status effective June 30, 2017. Under the U.S. Constitution, judicial nominations are made by the president “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Typically, home state senators work with the Office of White House Counsel to identify for the president’s consideration qualified candidates for vacancies on the U.S. circuit courts. Senators Fischer and Sasse invite applications from qualified Nebraskans.

Sen. Gardner Reopens Committee to Fill Colorado Judicial Vacancy
(Republican - Colorado) 01/19/17
In November 2015, Gardner recommended four potential nominees the White House. While President Obama nominated one of Gardner’s recommendations, the nominee was not confirmed. “The search to fill the Colorado judgeship began nearly a year prior to the vacancy in order to ensure that an already busy court is not understaffed,” said Gardner. “It is critical that the process to fill the vacancy remains thorough and expeditious. That is why I have requested the Judicial Evaluation Committee provide recommendations within 30 days so that I can send potential nominees to President-elect Trump as soon as possible.”

Sens. Cruz, Cornyn Announce Application Process for Texas Judgeships and U.S. Attorney Positions
(Republican - Texas) 01/19/17
“The FJEC selection process ensures Texans have the best, most qualified federal judges and prosecutors serving them,” Sen. Cruz said. “Texas is blessed with many exceptional candidates with a deep respect for the rule of law, and I encourage them to pursue these important positions.” “As a former judge and Attorney General of Texas, I acutely understand the importance of ensuring that we have the best people sitting on the federal bench and enforcing federal law in Texas,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I encourage any qualified individuals interested in serving Texas in these roles to take the first step by submitting their information to the review committee.”

Sen. Crapo joins Senate Judiciary Committee, hopes to push David Nye renomination and third Idaho federal judgeship
(Republican - Idaho) 01/03/17
He and fellow GOP Sen. Jim Risch persuaded the Judiciary Committee to unanimously approve the nomination of Idaho Judge David Nye for the state’s vacant federal judgeship in the fall, but the nomination never came up for a vote in the full Senate. That leaves Idaho still down to just one active federal district judge, Judge B. Lynn Winmill, since longtime Judge Edward Lodge took senior status in July of 2015. Lindsay Nothern, Crapo’s spokesman, said, “We’re really going to work hard on Nye and work hard on the judges thing. That was a part of the move to the Judiciary Committee.” Nothern said Crapo is hoping to move Nye’s nomination through “sooner rather than later,” and said he’ll “absolutely” be in a better position to advocate for Idaho to get a third judgeship. “He might be writing the legislation to do it,” Nothern said.

Sen. Crapo to Join Judiciary Committee in 115th Congress
(Republican - Idaho) 01/03/17
Crapo will work with the President-elect to nominate and confirm Idaho’s next U.S. District Judge.... “When the committee convenes, it will hold hearings and act to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. That nominee must follow in the model of Justice Scalia, looking first and foremost to the Constitution for guidance. I will also work with other panel members to advance to the full Senate a nominee to be Idaho’s next U.S. District judge."