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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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VIDEO: Sen. Booker Attempts to Break Gridlock on NJ Judicial Nominee: Booker request to immediately consider nominations of 7 judicial nominations with bipartisan support from home state Senators, including NJ nominee Julien Neals, is blocked by Senate leader
(Democrat - New Jersey) 09/20/16
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) took to the Senate floor today in an attempt to use a procedural maneuver to break Senate gridlock on pending judicial nominees, including the nomination of Julien Neals to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. During the discussion on the Senate floor, Sen. Booker challenged the obstruction of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Julien Neals was nominated by President Obama in February of 2015. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on his nomination on September 30, 2015, and his nominated was voted out of Committee by unanimous voice vote on November 5, 2015. However, a full Senate vote on his nomination has been pending for more than 10 months. Earlier this month, Sen. Booker also joined a number of his Senate colleagues to ask for unanimous consent to confirm pending judicial nominees supported by both Senate Democrats and Republicans.

Sen. Heitkamp on confirming more judges
(Democrat - North Dakota) 09/19/16
Last week, as a counter to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s (D-N.D.) push for all district court nominees approved by committee to be confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered to approved a "bipartisan package of four." ... “I think it’s completely unintended, but two of the longest waiting, highest ranking nominees are African Americans and that’s a formula we’re not going to agree to,” Heitkamp told The Hill this week. “We need the package of all of these.”

Sen. Leahy on confirming judicial nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/19/16
Senate Democrats are blasting their Republican colleagues for not only blocking the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but also 53 other judges in the lower courts, calling their obstruction “unprecedented” and “irresponsible.” “These are supposed to be nonpolitical positions,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary, said. “I’ve been here longer than anybody else, I’ve never seen anything so irresponsible.” In the last two years of the George W. Bush presidency, Leahy said, the Democratic majority confirmed 68 of his judges. In Obama’s last two years, the Republican majority has confirmed 22 judges. “We put through 10 of them in September just before we recessed for the election,” Leahy said. “They’re not willing to follow the Constitution, they won’t do their job.”

Sen. Cornyn on confirming additional judges
(Republican - Texas) 09/19/16
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) pointed to Obama’s predecessor for a comparison. “You look at the number of judges confirmed under George W. Bush and President Obama has been treated quite fairly,” he said. ... Cornyn said he’s open to confirming additional judges, but said it "depends on who they are.” “I’ve got some judges from Texas who have been approved by Sen. [Ted] Cruz and myself and the president,” he said. “Those sorts of choices would seem to be a logical place to go, so we’ll see. I’d certainly be open to it.” Cornyn said it’s ultimately up to the majority leader to decide whether to offer Democrats another deal. McConnell’s office would not comment on whether one is in the works.

Sen. Hatch on confirming judges
(Republican - Utah) 09/19/16
“This president does not have much to gripe about because he’s had well over 40 percent of the federal judiciary,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said. “He’s probably had more judicial nominations than any president in recent history, so it isn’t that he’s been mistreated.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/15/16
"On the agenda today, we have two judicial nominees who should be reported favorably. Judge Lucy Koh to the Ninth Circuit and Judge Florence Pan to the District Court in the District of Columbia. Both are eminently well qualified.... The Republican leadership should not schedule recess until we confirm these two nominees and the 28 other judicial nominees pending on the Executive Calendar. In September 2008, when George W. Bush was president, I was chairman of this Committee. Despite the impending presidential election, I held two hearings that month for 10 judicial nominees. Each of those 10 nominees were confirmed in one September day. After those confirmations, not a single nominee was left on the Executive Calendar before the election. There is no good reason we cannot do for these nominees this September what I did for President Bush’s judicial nominees eight years ago."

Norton Thanks Senate Judiciary Committee for Confirmation of Florence Pan, Her Recommendation for D.C. District Court Judge
(Democrat - District of Columbia) 09/15/16
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said she was grateful to the Senate Judiciary Committee for voting to confirm Florence Pan to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Pan, whom Norton recommended for the post to President Obama, would be the first female Asian American Pacific Islander judge to serve on the U.S. district court in D.C. Pan currently serves as an Associate Judge for the D.C. Superior Court. “Florence Pan’s excellent candidacy speaks to the committee’s vote to confirm her to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,” Norton said. “Ms. Pan has proven herself as an outstanding judge on the D.C. Superior Court. Her strong record promises to continue on our U.S. District Court here. I look forward to working to get her confirmed by the full Senate.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Have Not Confirmed A Single Judicial Nominee In More Than Two Months: While GOP Refuses To Act, Judicial Vacancies Increase To 90; And Because Of GOP Inaction, SCOTUS Nominee Merrick Garland Has Been Pending For Six Months
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/15/16
“The Republican leadership should not schedule recess until we confirm Chief Judge Garland and the 30 judicial nominees pending on the Executive Calendar,” said Leahy, who as chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 2008 steered 10 of President Bush’s judicial nominees to confirmation in the month of September alone. Those 10 confirmations reduced the number of judicial vacancies all the way to 34, roughly one-third of the 90 that exist today. “There is no good reason we cannot do for these nominees this September what I did for President Bush’s judicial nominees eight years ago.” Among the nominees pending on the Senate calendar are five nominees to fill vacancies on the Court of Federal Claims (CFC). All five were nominated over two years ago, and they were unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee twice. One of those nominees, Armando Bonilla, would be the first Hispanic judge to hold a seat on the CFC if he is confirmed. Yet Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) continues to block these nominees. Senate Republicans have also refused to confirm the longest pending district court nominees on the calendar, Edward Stanton of Tennessee and Julien Neals of New Jersey, despite the support of their Republican and Democratic home state Senators.

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement On the Pending Nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/13/16
"[F]or 2 years, President Obama's five eminently qualified nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims have been awaiting a vote. This court ... allows citizens to seek prompt justice against our government. Yet 2 years of obstruction by a single Senator, the junior Senator from Arkansas, has forced the court to operate without one-third of its allotted judges. While these five nominees have been waiting for a vote, another judge retired, leaving the court with only 10 judges for 16 seats, or a vacancy rate of 38 percent. This takes Senate Republican obstruction of judicial nominees to a new level.... I have heard no objections to the qualifications of any of the five nominees to this court. One of these nominees, Armando Bonilla, would be the first Hispanic judge to hold a seat on the Court.... During the Bush administration, the Senate confirmed nine judges to the Court of Federal Claims, with the support of every Senate Republican. So far, during the Obama administration, only three Court of Federal Claims nominees have received confirmation votes.... Senate Republicans' obstruction playbook leaves no court behind. It spans from the very top, with their complete refusal to give a hearing and a vote to Chief Judge Merrick Garland, to the article III circuit and district courts, to the article I Court of Federal Claims, where citizens go to sue their government. This blockade of all five CFC nominees makes no sense, especially because not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee raised a concern about these nominees either during the committee hearings on these nominations 2 years ago or during the Committee debate 2 years ago or last year."

Sen. Coons Unanimous Consent Request [to Vote on 5 Court of Federal Claims Nominees]
(Democrat - Delaware) 09/13/16
"[O]n the question of the Court of Federal Claims, today, currently, there are just 10 active judges, although it is authorized to have 16. The five nominees whom I brought to the floor today and have asked unanimous consent to proceed on were first nominated in April or May of 2014 and have waited more than 2 years for their confirmation here by the Senate. No one has raised an objection to their qualifications, and each of them has twice now unanimously been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee without concerns being raised or advanced about either their qualifications or the need to fill these judicial vacancies. With fewer active judges, cases have piled up in the Court of Federal Claims, which is often called ``the people's court'' because of its role in hearing cases brought by citizens and businesses against the Federal Government. From 2012 to 2015, the number of pending general jurisdiction cases per active judge has nearly doubled .... We have received letters from the chief judge of the Court of Federal Claims and the past president of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Bar Association urging our swift action on these nominees. ... Bonilla would be the first Hispanic judge to hold a position on this court and was strongly endorsed by the Hispanic National Bar Association.... I believe it is time we come together in a bipartisan fashion to do our job, confirm these five nominees to these judicial vacancies, and allow them to get to work serving our Nation on the Court of Federal Claims."

Sen. Cotton Objection [Blocks Votes on 5 Court of Federal Claims Nominees Judiciary Committee Twice Approved Unanimously]
(Republican - Arkansas) 09/13/16
"I objected to the confirmation of these judges before, and the reason still stands. There is little evidence that the Court of Federal Claims needs them.... There will be more discussion between my office and the White House about this data, but at this time I have yet to receive compelling data showing a judicial emergency for the Court of Federal Claims.... This is a serious court; the Senate should be serious as we consider confirming judges to it. The President's nominations to the court should not be rubberstamped."

Sen. Crapo: Vote on Idaho Judge Nye unlikely before election, but "very strong potential" in lame-duck session
(Republican - Idaho) 09/13/16
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo says the Senate is unlikely to vote on Idaho’s pending federal judge nominee, state Judge David Nye of Pocatello, before the November election, but a vote could come before the end of the year. “We have been working, Sen. Risch and I have been working our hardest to get that vote,” Crapo said in an interview Tuesday. “The nomination is now out of committee and waiting for floor time. I don’t believe there’s much likelihood that will happen before the election, but I do believe we will have a lame-duck session, and I believe we have a very strong potential of getting a vote on it in the lame-duck session.”

Republican Senators from 15 States Urge Immediate Action to Fill Their Judicial Vacancies (CO, FL, ID, IN, KS, LA, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI) (Sept. 13, 2016)
(Republican - Colorado, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Wisconsin) 09/13/16
Including all 16 Republican senators with nominees on the Senate Floor. Excerpts and links to Senator statements by state

Sen. Casey: Stop the Obstruction and Do Your Job
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 09/09/16
"In May, I walked onto the Senate floor and made a motion to confirm all judicial nominees for federal district court seats pending before the full Senate, including two from Pennsylvania. I felt compelled to take action since the pace of judicial confirmations has slowed to a trickle while the number of judicial vacancies has skyrocketed since Republicans took over the majority in 2014. Despite the fact that the Senate has confirmed just 22 judges so far this Congress, compared to the 68 the Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed in the final two years of the Bush administration, and despite the fact that judicial vacancies have increased more than 100 percent in the last two years, the Majority Leader quickly shot down my motion.... Senate Democrats have gone to the floor to make over 20 confirmation motions for district court nominees, including 5 just this week. ... Pennsylvania currently has four pending district court nominees, all distinguished judges nominated with bipartisan support from my colleague Senator Toomey. Two of these nominees, Susan Baxter and Marilyn Horan, passed out of the Judiciary Committee with unanimous support and are now among the 18 district court nominees, all vetted and deemed fit by the Judiciary Committee, awaiting full-Senate confirmation votes. Pennsylvania’s other two excellent district court nominees, John Younge and Robert Colville, have inexplicably been blocked from even getting a committee vote, despite their obvious qualification for the federal bench. There is simply no legitimate reason to block any of these nominees. Unfortunately, the district court is not the only place Senate Republicans are obstructing nominations. It took more than a year for the Senate to confirm the eminently qualified Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to his seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, the Senate again has before it an excellent nominee to that court, Rebecca Haywood, who deserves prompt consideration and a vote. She was nominated almost six months ago, yet Republican leadership has not taken a single step toward considering her nomination."

Sen. Durbin Floor Statement on 27 pending judicial nominees and Nomination of Merrick Garland
(Democrat - Illinois) 09/08/16
"There are 27 Federal judicial nominees whose nominations are pending before the Senate. One nomination that might be of interest to those who are following this debate is a nomination that goes back to October of 2015 of Edward L. Stanton III, of Tennessee. Now, we know the way the process works is that Mr. Stanton's name would not be on the calendar to be considered by the Senate were it not for the support of both Senators from Tennessee--in this case, both Republican Senators of Tennessee. So we have a nomination to fill a vacancy on a Federal district court of Tennessee that has been approved by both Republican Senators and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October of last year--almost 1 year ago.... he ran into a concerted, deliberate plan by Senate Republicans to stop filling judicial vacancies under President Barack Obama. There are 26 like him who have been reported from the committee .... Unfortunately, it means that for each of these nominees--starting with Mr. Stanton, 1 year ago--their lives are going to be on hold.... we are now up to 90 vacancies across the United States--a third of them are in emergency situations, which means that the courts cannot properly function because of the vacancies on the Federal bench. Despite this, the Senate Republicans refuse, being in control of the Senate, to call these names for consideration. They know they will pass. They are not controversial. They went through the committee, and they languish on the calendar because of this political decision."

(Republican - Texas) 09/08/16
“As many of the people in this hearing know, Sen. Cornyn and I four years ago created a bipartisan federal judicial advisory committee consisting of esteemed members of the Bar throughout the State of Texas,” Sen. Cruz said in his opening statement. “It is bipartisan. It includes leaders in every region of the state to make recommendations on judicial appointments, and each of the five nominees who is sitting before us is a product of that process. “Each of you has been through vigorous interviews, has been through the scrutiny of your colleagues and the scrutiny of your peers. It is designed to be an exacting process, but it is also designed to be a process that helps the cream rise to the top and helps produce nominees who will be the very best at what they do at the bench, who will be learned in the law, who will be faithful to the law and faithful to the Constitution, and who will bring honor to the judiciary and uphold the integrity of our courts. So I congratulate each of the five of you for making it through the process with such flying colors.”

(Democrat - Montana) 09/08/16
Following one of the longest Congressional recesses in recent history, Senator Jon Tester is holding himself and Congress accountable by sponsoring legislation to eliminate automatic pay raises for members of Congress. "In Montana, folks don't receive a raise if they aren't doing the job they were hired to do and Congress should play by those same rules," Tester said. "Folks in Congress must hold themselves accountable to the families they represent, and until Congress begins to reduce wasteful spending, cut red tape for small businesses, take care of our veterans, and fill judicial vacancies-nobody in Washington deserves a pay raise."

Sen. Schumer on Judiciary Committee voice vote approval of judicial nominee
(Democrat - New York) 09/08/16
Kathleen M. Sweet, the former Bar Association of Erie County president, has taken another step closer to confirmation as a federal judge in Buffalo, as the Senate Judiciary Committee moved her nomination to the Senate floor by voice vote Thursday.... the Judiciary Committee’s action came as good news to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D- N.Y., who recommended that President Barack Obama nominate her for the post. “Her credentials are exemplary, she’s widely respected in the legal community as a moderate, non-partisan, top-rate attorney, and she is a true Buffalonian,” Schumer said. Noting that the Western District of New York has only one active federal judge in its Buffalo courthouse, Schumer added: “Ms. Sweet is desperately needed on the bench in Buffalo. The WDNY has one of the longest backlogs of civil and criminal cases in the country.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/08/16
"In 2008, in the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency, I convened two judicial nominations hearings during the month of September for a total of ten nominees. And the Senate confirmed all ten of those nominees later that same month, leaving no nominees pending on the floor and reducing the number of judicial vacancies to 34. With the number of vacancies currently at 90, now is not the time to shut down the confirmation process. The Committee should hold another nominations hearing this month and the Senate should vote on all the pending judicial nominations on the Senate floor as well as the nominees receiving hearings this month. There are seven lower court nominees who have the support of their home state Senators who are ready for a hearing. These include three nominees for the Western District of Washington, a court where 43 percent of the seats are vacant; three nominees to district courts in Florida who have the bipartisan support of their home state Senators; and one nominee to the District of Colorado who has the bipartisan support of her home state Senators. We should also have a hearing for the nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. These are important vacancies that require a second nominations hearing this month. As members of this Committee, our duty to work on judicial nominees does not end with their committee hearing. It is not enough to report these well-qualified nominees out of Committee but then leave them twisting in the wind because of obstruction by Senate Republicans. The 27 judicial nominees on the Executive Calendar, and the additional one I expect we will report out today, all have bipartisan support. They deserve a vote without further delay,"

Sen. Grassley Releases Update on Judiciary Committee Work
(Republican - Iowa) 09/07/16
"Just today, the committee held hearings for five of President Obama’s nominations to the federal bench. Under Grassley’s chairmanship, the committee has conducted hearings for 54 of President Obama’s judicial nominations. By comparison, the Democrat-led committee held hearings for only 47 of President Bush’s nominees in the final two years of his presidency. Tomorrow, the committee is poised to report three more nominees to the full Senate – one judicial nominee and two sentencing commissioners."

Sen. Heitkamp Floor Statement: Unanimous Consent Requests
(Democrat - North Dakota) 09/07/16
"Ninety is the current number of judicial vacancies across our various Federal courts in the United States. Thirty-two of those vacancies have been deemed judicial emergencies. That means that justice is being severely delayed in those jurisdictions. Every day, Americans and American businesses have to sit and wait for resolution and certainty when we are capable of getting the job done, when we actually believe we have qualified nominees ready to take the bench and hear those cases. The majority has brought to the floor and confirmed only 20 circuit and district court judges during this Congress--20. How does that compare? Well, if you look at the last 2 years of the George W. Bush Presidency, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was then chaired by Senator Leahy, actually approved nearly three times as many. In fact, 68 judges were approved during that time period--68 judges compared to 20. Last year the majority matched the record for confirming the fewest number of judicial nominees in more than half a century. That is just 11 nominees for the entire year.... 31 nominees still have yet to either have a hearing or a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.... 175. That is the number of days since the President nominated Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. ... Twenty is the number of circuit and district court judges who have had a hearing, who have been reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan basis--in fact, 18 of them were unanimous--but they are still awaiting an up-or-down vote in the Senate. I think it is unusual that I should even have to come to the floor to explain how ridiculous this is. These nominees are all noncontroversial.... 12 were nominated over 300 days ago and 6 others were nominated over 200 days ago, and still they wait.... One of those nominees I want to particularly point out is a woman by the name of Jennifer Puhl.... She is highly qualified and completely noncontroversial; yet she waits and yet the Eighth Circuit waits for another person to sit on the bench and carry the load of that important circuit court."

Sen. Hirono Floor Statement [on judicial nominees]
(Democrat - Hawaii) 09/07/16
"[T]here are currently 27 pending nominations on the Executive Calendar and 90 total judicial vacancies. More than half of these nominations have been waiting since 2015 for a confirmation vote. Hawaii's own Clare Connors was nominated to the Federal bench 1 year ago tomorrow. She is one of the nominees who would be skipped under the Republican leader's compromise offer, which is not a fair offer any way you look at it. Claire's resume is extensive and impressive.... We need to do our jobs."

Sen. Baldwin Floor Statement [on judicial vacancies and nominees]
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 09/07/16
"I feel it necessary that we step up and deal with this crisis in the Federal courts and do our jobs. I call on my colleagues in the majority to do our jobs. The obstruction that we have seen with regard to filling judicial vacancies is harming our Federal courts and our Nation, our economy, and individuals who come before those courts to seek justice. In this current Congress, only 22 judges have been confirmed by the Senate. As we have discussed today, we currently have 90 vacancies on the Federal courts. Thirty-two--one-third--have been declared judicial emergencies. Yet before the Senate right now, we have Presidential nominees for these vacancies--27 in number--that are available for our consideration. Each of those names has garnered a bipartisan majority from the Judiciary Committee. A bipartisan majority has supported those Presidential nominees. Each and every one of them deserve a vote in the full Senate. The American people fully deserve a functioning Federal judiciary--whether the Supreme Court, our circuit courts, or the district courts. From my home State of Wisconsin, we have a longstanding vacancy on the Seventh Circuit Court. This longstanding vacancy is absolutely unacceptable. This traditional Wisconsin seat on the Seventh Circuit Court has been vacant for more than 6 years. This is the longest Federal circuit court vacancy in the country. Today marks the 2,435th day--that is 6 years and 8 months--of this vacancy. The people of Wisconsin and our neighbors in Illinois and Indiana deserve a fully functioning court of appeal. ... We have a highly qualified nominee for this seat. Don Schott was nominated by the President on January 12. He has strong bipartisan support. Both Senator Johnson and I have returned our blue slips, a part of the process to advance one of these nominees. A bipartisan majority of the Wisconsin judicial nominating commission recommended and supported his consideration by the President. Don Schott also received the support of a bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee when they voted to advance his nomination."

Sen. Cornyn Chairs Hearing for Texas Judicial Nominees
(Republican - Texas) 09/07/16
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) chaired a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for five nominees to fill vacancies on federal courts in Texas.... “Each of these nominees meet these exacting standards: they bring to the bench decades of public service and private sector experience in civil and criminal law, in the courtroom and in our appellate courts. And together they represent the richness and diversity that makes Texas so proud.” “I want to congratulate each one of you for getting this far in the process. As I said, it’s not an easy one. I’m sure you would agree. And I again want to thank Chairman Grassley for scheduling the hearing. I know it’s rare to hold a nominations hearing this late in a presidential election year.” “I want to extend a welcome to all of your families who are with you and to congratulate them because I know this is not an honor for you alone. It is for your families and the people who helped you get to this point.”

Sen. Booker Floor Statement [objecting to Sen. McConnell attempt to skip two longest pending district court nominees and only African-Americans in next 15]
(Democrat - New Jersey) 09/07/16
"[O]ne of the judges the Republican leader is suggesting be skipped is the judge who has been waiting for the longest time. Judge Julien Neals has been waiting since February of 2015. He is someone who came out of the committee with bipartisan support and someone who has deep qualifications. In addition to this, he is suggesting that we skip another judge named Ed Stanton, who is the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. I bring out those two judges who are next on the list. They are the two longest waiting judges for the district court--one from May and one from February. I single those two out not just because one of them is from New Jersey but, if you look at the list of the next 15 judges, these are the only two African Americans on the list. The two longest waiting district court judges and the only two African Americans are the two who are being singled out, among others, to be skipped over in what the Republican leader is suggesting.... That, to me, is unacceptable, especially when you look at the qualifications of these two judges and especially if you look at their wide bipartisan support within the Judiciary Committee. The perception alone should be problematic to all of us in this body. So I would like to object to this offer, especially given the tensions that exist right now in our country, the urgency for diversity on the bench, and the clear qualifications of these men, and, finally, the fact that they have been waiting since May and February of 2015."

Sen. Booker Floor Statement and Unanimous Consent request to vote on NJ and TN longest pending district judges
(Democrat - New Jersey) 09/07/16
"I rise again to continue the plea to move forward when it comes to fulfilling the vacancies now pending in our courts. I don't know about the Constitution saying anything about a tit-for-tat--what one President got another should get--but to me the obligation of the Senate is clear, and that is, we have an obligation to do our job and to fill vacancies. During this Presidency, significantly more vacancies have come up because of retirements and other reasons. As we have already heard from the Senator from Massachusetts, not only are there double the vacancies, but the judicial emergencies being talked about now, which have nothing to do with party, are real. Around our country right now, there are many districts that are in crisis because of our failure to do our job. Relying on a tit-for-tat partisan understanding reflected nowhere in our Constitution is unacceptable when we are not supporting the proper functioning of the judiciary. We have nominations on the floor, ones that have passed out of the Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan fashion. One of those nominations-- to fill a vacancy in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey--is Julien Neals, who is a well-qualified nominee and who has had to wait for over 19 months on his nomination--19 months. On this list, he is the longest waiting judge.... The Judiciary Committee favorably reported his nomination by voice vote in November of 2015. The delay in confirming this nomination is unfair to the people of New Jersey .... States across this country are being forced to shoulder the Senate's failure to confirm judges, precipitating a massive judicial crisis in our country. Continued judicial vacancies means that current Federal judges will be overworked and understaffed. Continued judicial vacancies means the American people must wait a year or two or longer to receive justice in a case.... I ask the Senate to promptly vote on the next two nominees who would be up, nominees from Tennessee and New Jersey. The Western District of Tennessee nominee, Edward Stanton, is a former U.S. attorney and has been pending for over 16 months. It is important for me to point out, especially after the suggestion from the Republican leader that we skip these first two judges, the longest waiting judges--I know there was no intention here, but I think it is important that we point out that in the compromise suggested by the majority leader, these are the only 2 African-American judges in the next 15. So here we have two of the longest waiting judges, two qualified judges, two judges who passed out of the Judiciary Committee, two judges who deserve Senate action and who are also African-American judges who can help create diversity on our Federal judiciary so that it better reflects our society as a whole."

Sen. Alexander Floor Objection to votes on pending judicial nominees
(Republican - Tennessee) 09/07/16
"I object. ... to keep appropriate balance here in the Chamber, the Senate has treated President Obama fairly in terms of his judicial nominations. As the majority leader has pointed out, by comparison, at this point in President Bush's Presidency, the Senate had confirmed 316 of his judicial nominations. As of now, the Senate has already confirmed 329 of President Obama's judicial nominations. So President Obama is ahead of President Bush by that count. In fact, the Senate has already confirmed more of President Obama's judicial nominees than it did during the entirety of President Bush's 8 years in office. Senator McConnell offered an agreement to process a bipartisan package of four more judicial nominations that would include a California judicial nomination, two Pennsylvania judicial nominations, and a Utah judicial nomination, but Democrats objected."

Sen. Cornyn on need to confirm judges, hope for vote before recess
(Republican - Texas) 09/07/16
Cornyn, who is the Senate majority whip, alluded in the hearing to the urgency of filling judicial nominations in Texas: “I know it’s rare to hold a nominations hearing this late in a presidential election year.” Cornyn, addressing the five nominees, said, “ I feel like I know everyone well.” ... After he left the hearing, leaving Cruz to preside for the last few minutes, Cornyn told McClatchy that having a hearing so close to an election is “almost unheard-of.” “We do need to have judges confirmed,” he said. “There’s definitely a need. I’m glad this day has arrived.” Cornyn anticipates that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the nominees in the next two weeks, and he hopes that the full Senate will vote shortly thereafter, before Congress recesses for the elections.

Sen. Heitkamp: Senate Must Do Its Job, Approve 20 Judges with Bipartisan Support including ND’s Jennifer Puhl
(Democrat - North Dakota) 09/07/16
“Seldom do we see litigators with the dogged will and the legal wisdom to take on some of the worst crimes facing North Dakota – from human trafficking, to cybercrime and child exploitation, Jennifer Puhl has seen it all,” said Heitkamp. “That’s exactly the kind of tenacity and work ethic that won over my Republican and Democratic colleagues on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in July when they unanimously approved Jennifer to serve on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today, l led a call on the floor of the U.S. Senate with several of my colleagues to approve Jennifer and 19 other skilled legal minds to serve as circuit and district court judges – nearly all of whom were unanimously approved in Committee just like Jennifer. We owe businesses and families across North Dakota more than a less-than-fully functioning legal system – but that’s exactly what we’re doing by refusing to confirm these well-qualified judicial nominees. It’s unfortunate that instead of acting in the best interest of the American people, the Senate Majority is choosing to hold up nominees both sides agree on – many of whom have put their lives and careers on hold as they await confirmation. When we do not have a fully functioning judiciary, we cannot have a fully functioning democracy – and I’ll keep pushing my colleagues in the Senate to do their jobs by confirming non-controversial, qualified folks like Jennifer so they can fill sorely needed seats on federal courts across the country.”

Sen. Warren Floor Statement [on judicial nominees]
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 09/07/16
"Republicans who control the Senate are setting new records for obstruction by slowing the pace of judicial nominations to a crawl and leaving courts across this Nation overburdened and understaffed. I have listened as Senator McConnell has asserted that he is acting fairly on judges because more Obama judges have been confirmed than total George W. Bush judges. Here is my question: What kind of game does he think this is? At this point in time during the Bush administration, there were 42 judicial vacancies. Today, there are 90. At this point during the Bush administration, there were 13 judicial emergencies--vacancies in courts that are severely shorthanded and overburdened with cases. Today there are 32--more than twice as many vacancies, more than twice as many emergencies.... One of those nominees is Inga Bernstein, a highly regarded Massachusetts attorney who has spent years serving families, teachers, and workers. Ms. Bernstein is not controversial. She is supported by both Republicans and Democrats. ... it is disgraceful that Republicans are blocking confirmation of these judges. It is even more disgraceful that 18 additional nominees haven't even had hearings yet, including Merrick Garland, who has now waited longer than any Supreme Court nominee in the history of the United States to receive a confirmation vote, while our highest Court continues to deadlock on issue after issue of importance to this Nation. All we are asking for is the Senate Republicans to stop playing politics and do their job."