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Republican Senators from 15 States Urge Immediate Action to Fill Their Judicial Vacancies (CO, ID, IN, KS, LA; NE, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI) (May 23, 2016)
(Republican - Colorado, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin) 05/23/16

OK Sens. applaud Judiciary Committee approval of two district court nominees
(Republican - Oklahoma) 05/19/16
Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, applauded the committee's decision to advance the nominees. "I am hopeful they will soon be serving the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma," Inhofe said Thursday. "Both have received a wide range of praise from Oklahoma leaders and their colleagues, and I fully expect both will soon continue to serve Oklahoma with honor in their new roles.” Lankford said, "I'm pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee has affirmed what Oklahomans already knew — Judge Mitchell and Mr. Palk will be solid judges on the U.S. District Court. I congratulate them on this important next step in the process. They are fair-minded nominees who will uphold the rule of law.”

Sen. Hatch Statement on Utahn Ron Russell's Committee Approval to District Court Seat
(Republican - Utah) 05/19/16
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the nomination of Ronald Russell to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had introduced Russell to the committee in April and issued the following statement following his approval: “Even in this challenging political environment, senators on both sides of the aisle recognized that Ron’s experience, reputation, and character make him a nominee everyone can support. Ron is well known and well respected in the Utah legal community and will continue the tradition of excellence on the U.S. District Court in Utah.”

Sen. Lee on Judiciary Committee voice vote of Utah district court nominee
(Republican - Utah) 05/19/16
"Ron is an outstanding attorney and an upstanding Utahn through and through," Lee said at Thursday's committee meeting.

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Republican - Iowa) 05/19/16
"During the last four presidential election years, the last confirmation vote of a circuit court nominee occurred before the summer recess. And the last confirmation vote of a district court nominee occurred in the fall of that year. And I’d note that while there have been nominations hearings held as late as September, my good friend then-Chairman Leahy made clear a number of times that those hearings were “an exception under the Thurmond Rule” and “an accommodation” to other Senators on the Committee.... going forward, like I said last week, I suspect there will be more judicial nominees confirmed by the full Senate. ... In this Committee, we’re continuing to process judicial nominees and hold hearings.... At the end of the day, because there is not a hard and fast rule, the best way I know how to proceed is to look to what has been done in the past, and roughly follow the examples of my predecessors. Based upon prior practice and past statements, the Leahy-Thurmond rule will kick in when the Senate recesses in mid-July. But remember, then-Chairman Leahy has made exceptions, as he called them, to the rule in order to accommodate members of this Committee, so, there can always be limited exceptions."

SENS. MIKULSKI, CARDIN PRAISE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE'S APPROVAL OF DISTRICT OF MARYLAND NOMINEE STEPHANIE GALLAGHER: Senators recommended Stephanie Gallagher for federal bench to President Obama
(Democrat - Maryland) 05/19/16
“I applaud the committee’s vote to approve the nomination of Judge Stephanie Gallagher to serve on the U.S. District Court of Maryland, and was proud to recommend her for the job,” Senator Mikulski said. “When I consider nominees for the federal bench, I have four criteria: absolute integrity, judicial competence and temperament; a commitment to core constitutional principles; and a history of civic engagement in Maryland. Judge Gallagher not only meets these standards, she exceeds them. Maryland deserves to have highly qualified judges who will uphold the law to provide equal justice for all, and we have that in her.” “Judge Gallagher brings tremendous experience to the courtroom as a sitting U.S. Magistrate Judge in Baltimore, as well as being a former prosecutor, private law firm attorney, and judicial law clerk. Her strong roots in the Maryland legal community, tremendous understanding and respect for the rule of law, and willingness to volunteer time with some of Maryland’s most vulnerable residents, make her an exceptional nominee. I was pleased to recommend Judge Gallagher’s nomination to the President along with Senator Mikulski, and I am confident that she will serve the people of Maryland well once confirmed,” said Senator Cardin. “Judge Gallagher may be the last judicial nomination from Maryland that I will work on with Senator Mikulski as she retires at the end of this year. I want to thank Senator Mikulski for setting up such an excellent process in Maryland to seek out the best attorneys in our state for vacancies in the District Court and 4th Circuit. We have recommended judicial nominations to the President that have made Marylanders proud of our federal courts.”

Sen. Reid: Republican Obstruction Is Denying Americans The Justice They Deserve
(Democrat - Nevada) 05/18/16
“Litigants take their cases to the Supreme Court in search of justice. They seek resolution. They seek clarity. But because of Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction, Americans are getting none of those things.... Republicans are doing the same thing with trial court judges. The federal judiciary has many, many districts that are declaring a judicial emergency. They don’t have enough judges to do their work."

Sens. Coats, Donnelly Express Support for U.S. District Court Nominee Winfield Ong During Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
(Democrat - Indiana) 05/18/16
Donnelly said, “I am very pleased today to join with Senator Coats to introduce and express my support for Winfield Ong…Winfield has a long and distinguished record of public service…In light of his strong qualifications and the urgent need to fill this position, I urge you to expeditiously consider Winfield Ong’s nomination and send it to the floor for a vote by the full Senate.”

Sens. Coats, Donnelly Express Support for U.S. District Court Nominee Winfield Ong During Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing
(Republican - Indiana) 05/18/16
Senators Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) today testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on judicial nominations. The Indiana senators spoke in support of Winfield D. Ong, who was nominated to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Coats said, “Winfield’s colleagues in the legal profession recommend him highly. It is clear to me that he has earned the respect of his peers. In light of Winfield Ong’s qualifications, outstanding record of public service and the ongoing judicial emergency in the Southern District of Indiana, I respectfully ask that you send his nomination to the full Senate for confirmation and trust that the Senate will act swiftly with confirmation.”

Sens. Vitter & Cassidy "strongly support" Stephanie A. Finley & Claude J. Kelly III federal district court nominees at their Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
(Republican - Louisiana) 05/18/16
Sen. Vitter (chairing hearing) oral statement that Sen. Cassidy written statement "also strongly supports" both nominees for the Louisiana U.S. District Court

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/18/16
"Donald Schott of Wisconsin is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Schott has the bipartisan support of his home state senators from Wisconsin, and he should receive a prompt vote in Committee and soon be considered by the full Senate. In addition to Mr. Schott, there are six other circuit nominees who should receive a hearing soon.... there remains 30 other judicial nominees waiting for a hearing.... we have only had 3 hearings for 13 nominees this year. In the last year of the Bush administration, I had already held 7 hearings for 20 nominees at this same point. Further, I will note that in the last two years, I held hearings on eight circuit court nominees by this time, and all eight of those nominees were subsequently confirmed – by a Democratically controlled Senate. ... in 2008, when I was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee with a Republican President, I held hearings in the Committee for judicial nominees as late as September 23, 2008. And later that same month on September 26, 2008, the Democratically-controlled Senate confirmed 10 of President Bush’s judicial nominees in one day.... Because of Republican obstruction, judicial vacancies have nearly doubled from 43 to 80 since Republicans took over the majority. At this same point in the Bush presidency, Democrats had reduced vacancies to just 46. ... Regardless, Senate Republicans must understand that their job is not to calculate incomplete comparisons of former Presidents and then put their pencils down. We work for the American people. Senators do not get to stop doing their work during election years."

SEN. MIKULSKI APPLAUDS SENATE CONFIRMATION OF PAULA XINIS FOR U.S. DISTRICT COURT OF MARYLAND: Senator recommended Ms. Xinis for Federal Bench to President Obama
(Democrat - Maryland) 05/16/16
“I applaud today’s confirmation of Paula Xinis to serve on the District of Maryland bench, and was proud to recommend her for the job,” Senator Mikulski said. “When I consider nominees for the federal bench, I have four criteria: absolute integrity, judicial competence and temperament, a commitment to core constitutional principles and a history of civic engagement in Maryland. Paula Xinis not only meets these standards, she exceeds them. Ms. Xinis has a commitment to the rule of law and a passion for how it affects the lives of ordinary Americans. She is an extraordinarily qualified Marylander that will be a true asset to the District Court of Maryland.”

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Supreme Court’s Decisions In Zubik v. Burwell and Spokeo v. Robbins
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/16/16
“In its decisions in Zubik and Spokeo today, the Supreme Court’s eight members could not serve their highest function under the Constitution, which is to definitively resolve legal disputes so that our laws apply uniformly across the Nation. ... the Court’s decision to remand Spokeo v. Robbins for further proceedings leaves unsettled law across the country on how and whether consumers can enforce statutory protections in court. The Spokeo case raises important privacy questions about Americans’ power to take action when incorrect information is posted about them online, but its implications for how statutes are enforced in court are far greater. ... Our Constitution ensures equal justice for all; not a patchwork of different rights in different parts of the country. This is precisely why the Senate must proceed with a public hearing and a vote for Chief Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated two months ago to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.”

Sens. Cardin, Mikulski Applaud Senate Confirmation Of Paula Xinis For U.S. District Court Of Maryland
(Democrat - Maryland) 05/16/16
“Marylander Paula Xinis is an impeccably qualified choice to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge. Reported unanimously by committee, the approval of her nomination should have been uncontroversial and decidedly swift. But instead of doing their job, Senate Republicans played politics with her confirmation and gave rise to yet another judicial emergency,” said Senator Cardin. “I am pleased that Paula Xinis finally will be able to join fellow jurists on the bench in Maryland. Democrats and Republicans agree that we need a fully functioning judiciary in Maryland and across the nation. My hope is that the confirmation of Paula Xinis will open the door to votes for the many other qualified judicial nominees who still await a vote before the full Senate.”

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Paula Xinis and other Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/16/16
"Unfortunately, the Republican leadership has repeatedly objected to unanimous consent motions made to overcome the obstruction of 20 judicial nominees. These are nominees who were voted out unanimously by committee and are awaiting a confirmation vote.... Paula Xinis , whom we will vote on today, was nominated more than a year ago to fill an emergency vacancy ... Paula Xinis , whom we will vote on today, was nominated more than a year ago to fill an emergency vacancy .... the next in line for consideration is a district court nominee from New Jersey and then a district court nominee from Nebraska. I know the Senators from New Jersey are pushing for a vote on the nominee to serve in their State. I hope the Republican Senators from Nebraska are urging their leadership to schedule the confirmation of Robert Rossiter, who was approved by unanimous voice vote in committee. That vacancy has been pending for over a year and a half. ... vacancies have risen from 43 to 81 since Republicans took over the majority.... At this same point in the Bush Presidency, Democrats had reduced vacancies to just 46.... Chief Judge Ron Clark of the Eastern District of Texas, which currently has three judicial emergency vacancies, said: ``We're managing the best we can--but if they don't get us another judge soon, you could start to see some more draconian kinds of delays.'' There is a nominee to this court pending in the Judiciary Committee, but the Texas Senators, who both are members of the committee, have not returned their blue slips to allow that nominee to even receive a hearing. ... I urge the majority leader to heed his own advice and to schedule a confirmation vote for the pending lower court nominees, and I urge the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to follow suit by scheduling confirmation hearings for Chief Judge Garland so that we can do our jobs."

Sen. Grassley Floor Statement
(Republican - Iowa) 05/16/16
"Today the Senate will vote on the nomination of Paula Xinis to be a judge for the District of Maryland. I will support that nomination."

Sens. Donnelly and Coats Pleased Senate Judiciary Committee Will Hold Hearing on U.S. District Court Nominee Winfield Ong
(Republican - Indiana) 05/16/16
Coats said, “I appreciate the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to hold a hearing on Winfield Ong’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The Judicial Conference of the United States has declared a judicial emergency in Indiana’s Southern District, and Winfield Ong’s successful career in the U.S. Attorney’s Office makes him uniquely qualified to fill this important role. This is a significant step toward confirmation, and I am eager to see this process move forward.”

Sens. Donnelly and Coats Pleased Senate Judiciary Committee Will Hold Hearing on U.S. District Court Nominee Winfield Ong
(Democrat - Indiana) 05/16/16
Donnelly said, “I am pleased the Senate Judiciary Committee is giving Winfield Ong a hearing. He has an impressive range of experience and has demonstrated the ability and temperament necessary to serve Hoosiers well on the federal bench in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. I look forward to working with my colleagues, including Senator Coats, to see Winfield Ong move through the confirmation process as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Allow Confirmation Vote On Single Judicial Nominee While Holding Up Dozens More; From Trial Courts To Supreme Court, Americans Are Finding It Harder To Seek Justice In Our Courts Because Of GOP Obstruction
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/16/16
“Because of Republican obstruction, our independent judiciary is struggling to perform its role under the Constitution,” Leahy said, noting that a judge on the Eastern District of Texas recently warned that plaintiffs would experience “draconian kinds of delays” if more judges are not confirmed soon. Senate Republicans have allowed just 18 judicial nominees to be confirmed since taking over the majority last year. In sharp contrast, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed 68 judicial nominees in the last two years of President Bush’s tenure. District court nominees from New Jersey, Nebraska, Tennessee, California, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii are all pending on the Senate floor. Senate Democrats have repeatedly sought to confirm these nominees, all of whom have the support of their home state Senators and were overwhelmingly reported by the Judiciary Committee. However, Senate Republicans have blocked every request to clear the nominations backlog and confirm these nominees.... “I was heartened to hear the Majority Leader last week make the point that an election year is ‘not an excuse not to do our work.’ I whole-heartedly agree,” Leahy said. “The Supreme Court should not be held hostage to election year politics. I urge the Majority Leader to heed his own advice by scheduling confirmation votes on the lower court nominees we have pending, and I urge the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to follow suit by scheduling a confirmation hearing for Chief Judge Garland.”

Sen. Grassley Statement on the Nomination of Paula Xinis to be United States District Judge for the District of Maryland
(Republican - Iowa) 05/16/16
"At this point in 2008, the 110th Congress, the former-chairman held hearings for 43 nominees. And at the end of May this year, we’ll have held hearings for 43 nominees thus far in the 114th Congress."

AFTER PUSH FROM SENATOR BALDWIN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE SCHEDULES HEARING FOR 7TH CIRCUIT COURT NOMINEE DONALD SCHOTT
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 05/12/16
Last month, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley to hold a hearing and advance Donald Schott’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Wisconsin’s seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is over six years old and is the longest-standing federal circuit court vacancy in the country.... the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that Schott’s nomination would be taken up at a hearing ... “This is an important step forward towards putting an end to the longest standing federal circuit court vacancy in the country,” said Senator Baldwin. “It also an opportunity for Senator Johnson to join me in supporting this nomination and returning the Seventh Circuit court to full strength. I don’t believe we have completed our responsibility until this nominee is confirmed by the Senate and I will continue to push for a vote so we can finish the job we were elected to do.” Based on Schott’s bipartisan, majority support from the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, President Obama nominated him to the 7th Circuit on January 12, 2016. A bipartisan group of former Wisconsin State Bar Presidents also support Senate action on the Schott nomination and in January sent a letter to Chairman Grassley asking that he take up the nomination and give Schott a vote as soon as possible.

Sen. Ron Johnson on Senate Judiciary Committee May 18th hearing on Donald Schott 7th Circuit nomination
(Republican - Wisconsin) 05/12/16
"I signed the blue slip for Don Schott, recommending that the Judiciary Committee consider the nomination, which they are now doing," Johnson said via email

Sen. Casey Floor statement [on five pending district and circuit court nominees from Pennsylvania]
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 05/10/16
“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans again chose to block passage of these nominees today, including the two highly-qualified nominees from Pennsylvania, Judges Susan Baxter and Marilyn Horan. It’s time for Senate Republicans to stop the obstruction, do their job and give these nominees fair consideration,” Senator Casey said. “Even as they continue their outrageous obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination, Senate Republicans have virtually stopped confirming District and Circuit Court nominees, including the five currently pending from Pennsylvania. People in Pennsylvania and around the country are being denied access to basic justice because there aren’t enough judges to hear cases. It’s time for Senate Republicans to end the games and do their job.”

Sen. Cardin Floor Statement Urges Senate GOP To Hold Votes on Judges
(Democrat - Maryland) 05/10/16
“We need nine justices on the Supreme Court and we need a fully functioning judiciary across the nation. In Maryland, we have an eminently qualified nominee, Paula Xinis, who has been waiting for months to fill a judicial emergency for a vacant seat in Greenbelt. There are qualified nominees for lower courts who are sitting in limbo because some Senate Republicans are unwilling to do their job and go through the confirmation process. Much like Judge Garland, many of these nominees once received glowing reviews from the very Senators who are now blocking them,” Senator Cardin said. “It is outrageous that the Senate leadership is deliberately allowing the number of judicial vacancies and judicial emergencies to grow, as justice delayed is justice denied.”

Sen. Cardin Continues Push to Move Forward Xinis, Garland and the Need for a Fully Functioning Judiciary
(Democrat - Maryland) 05/10/16
Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (2007-2010), took to the floor of the United States Senate again Tuesday to urge the Republican Majority to hold a vote on Marylander and District Court nominee Paula Xinis, and to hold a hearing and vote on Marylander Merrick Garland, nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Senate Republicans again objected to Senator Cardin’s request to confirm multiple consensus nominees, including Xinis. Urging the Republicans to “do their job,” Senator Cardin called the delays “outrageous and an affront to our system of checks and balances.” On Friday, Senator Cardin was joined by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Washington, D.C. Bureau Director Hillary Shelton and members of the Maryland legal community at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Md., to urge action on judicial vacancies. “We need nine justices on the Supreme Court and we need a fully functioning judiciary across the nation. In Maryland, we have an eminently qualified nominee, Paula Xinis, who has been waiting for months to fill a seat in Greenbelt. This vacancy is now a judicial emergency. There are qualified nominees for lower courts who are sitting in limbo because some Senate Republicans are unwilling to do their job and go through the confirmation process. Much like Judge Garland, many of these nominees once received glowing reviews from the very Senators who are now blocking them,” said Senator Cardin. “It is outrageous that the Senate leadership is deliberately allowing the number of judicial vacancies and judicial emergencies to grow; justice delayed is truly justice denied.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Have Not Confirmed A Single Judicial Nominee In Over A Month; While Senate Stalls, Judicial Vacancies Increase
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/10/16
Partisan obstruction of the federal judiciary has led to an increase in judicial vacancies, which today stand at 81—sharply up from 43 when Republicans took control of the Senate last year. To address this looming vacancy crisis, Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) sought Tuesday to confirm 11 nominees pending on the Senate floor. While confirming these nominees would help alleviate overburdened courts throughout the country, Republicans for the third month in a row refused Democratic requests to confirm any nominees. “The Senate has not confirmed a single judicial nominee in a month. Not one. And yet, Republicans continue to claim the Senate is back to work,” Senator Leahy said. “When qualified nominees who were unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee are left waiting for months, the Senate is not working. It is not fulfilling its constitutional role and it certainly is not doing the job of the American people who deserve prompt justice in our courts.”... Senate Republicans have allowed just 17 judicial nominees to be confirmed since taking over the majority last year. In sharp contrast, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed 68 judicial nominees in the last two years of President Bush’s tenure. The result of Republican obstruction these last two years has been an uptick in judicial vacancies across the country. When Senate Republicans took over the majority in January of last year, there were 43 judicial vacancies. Since then, vacancies have dramatically increased more than 75 percent to 81. The number of judicial vacancies deemed to be “emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has more than doubled under Republican Senate leadership – from 12 when Republicans took over last year to 29 today.

Sen. Coons Floor Statement on Federal Judiciary Vacancy Crisis
(Democrat - Delaware) 05/10/16
“Unfortunately, the Senate’s blockade and refusal to fulfill its constitutional obligation on judicial nominations goes far beyond Chief Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Senator Coons said. “Frankly, the federal judiciary faces a crisis because of the Senate’s continued inaction to confirm judicial nominees who passed unanimously out of committee. The number of judicial vacancies has reached an alarming level. We owe it to the American people to do our job and ensure we have a fully functioning justice system.”

Sen. Rubio won't say why he is blocking district court nominee Judiciary Committee hearing
(Republican - Florida) 05/06/16
Rubio said he is still “not prepared” to confirm Mary Barzee Flores, the local attorney nominated to the federal bench last year, and he won’t specifically say why not.

Sen. Cornyn nearly 2 months after 5 judicial nominees he recommended has not submitted "blue slips because "he hadn’t received them yet from the Judiciary Committee."
(Republican - Texas) 05/06/16
Sens. Cruz and Cornyn have agreed with the White House on five nominees to the Texas bench, but after almost two months, the Texas senators still haven’t submitted “blue slips” bearing the nominees’ names to the Judiciary Committee....Cornyn spokeswoman Libby Hambleton said the senator hadn’t submitted the slips because he hadn’t received the[m] yet from the Judiciary Committee.