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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley Statement delaying scheduled votes on Judge Restrepo' Third Circuit nomination and others
(Republican - Iowa) 06/25/15
"The judicial court nominees are on the agenda for the first time today and will be held over. They are: • Luis Restrepo: Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit; • Travis McDonough: District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee; • Waverly Crenshaw: District Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee"

Sen. Leahy Statement at Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/25/15
"Notably, once we report out the pending nominees to the Third Circuit and to the Eastern District of Tennessee, the Committee will have finally considered all the nominees held over from last Congress. ... I hope the Senators from Pennsylvania and Tennessee have convinced the Republican members on this Committee that there is no good reason for further delay, so that we can report them out today and try to make some progress on filling judicial vacancies. Unfortunately, the Republican-led Senate has not confirmed a single judge this work period. Not one. We have confirmed only four district judges so far this year, and not one circuit judge. At this point in 2007, with Democrats in the majority during the Bush administration, we had confirmed 18 judges – 15 district and 3 circuit court judges. Six of the 18 first had hearings in 2007, were reported to the floor without needless delay and confirmed in a timely manner. Currently pending on the floor we have 12 judicial nominees who were reported out of this Committee by voice vote – 6 were reported unanimously last year and again this year."

Sen. Menendez statement on slow pace of judicial confirmations
(Democrat - New Jersey) 06/25/15
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, in a statement, called the slow pace of judicial confirmations "outrageous." "We have judicial emergencies and we have three nominees who are eminently qualified," the statement said. "This affects every-day people in terms of getting their day in court. The fact is, Republicans are in control and they are slow-walking these nominees and obstructing the ability for justice to be administered. That's unacceptable." quotes Sens. Menendez & Booker on Senate delays of judicial nominees
(Democrat - New Jersey) 06/24/15
"It's pretty outrageous," Menendez said. "That affects every day people in terms of getting their in court. That's unacceptable." All four New Jersey vacancies are considered what the Judicial Conference of the United States, which makes policy for federal courts, calls "judicial emergencies," meaning there are not enough judges on the bench to handle current workloads. Among those waiting for Senate action are Bergen County counsel Julien Xavier Neals, nominated in February; and former Assistant state Attorney General John Michael Vazquez, nominated in March. Earlier this month, Obama picked state Superior Court Judge Brian Martinotti for the third vacancy. "They're eminently qualified," Menendez said. "Republicans are slow-walking all of these nominees and obstructing the ability of justice to be administered."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/24/15
"Legislation alone cannot solve the problems facing main street businesses from abuses of the patent system; we also need dedicated judges, like Kara Farnandez Stoll, on the bench to faithfully apply the law. Ms. Farnandez Stoll was first nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit more than seven months ago. Her hearing was held more than three months ago and two months ago she was unanimously reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. ...Nearly six months into this new Congress, the Republican leadership has scheduled votes to confirm only four district court judges. We have not confirmed a single judge this work period. Not one. This is simply unacceptable. In addition to Ms. Farnandez Stoll, there are 11 other consensus judicial nominations pending on the Senate Executive Calendar. The other nominees pending on the Calendar include five U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) nominees. We are well past the one year anniversary of when each were first nominated and are closing in on the anniversary of all five having had hearings before they were first reported unanimously out of Committee. The five CFC nominees were again reported out of Committee unanimously at the beginning of this year. We have heard no opposition to any of these nominees, yet they have been in limbo for months and months because the Republican Leader has refused to schedule a vote. ... Also pending on the Calendar are nominees to fill vacancies on the Western District of Missouri, the Western District of New York, and three nominees to fill judicial emergency vacancies – two on the Eastern District of New York and one on the Eastern District of California. All but one of whom were first nominated last year. There is nothing keeping the Senate from confirming all 12 nominees – nothing, except for the mindset of delay for delay’s sake, which is unfortunately the hallmark of the majority’s leadership on judicial nominations. The Senate has a duty to consider judicial vacancies no matter which party holds the majority. In the 17 months I chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee during President Bush’s first two years in office, the Senate confirmed 100 Federal circuit and district court judges. I also served as Chairman during the last two years of the Bush administration and we confirmed another 68 district and circuit court judges. In contrast to the 4 district judges we have confirmed this year, when the Democrats were in an equivalent position in the seventh year of the Bush administration, we had confirmed 18 judges – including 15 district and 3 circuit court judges – by June 24, 2007."

Sen. Casey spokesman on scheduled June 25 Judiciary Committee vote on Judge Restrepo Third Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 06/23/15
John Rizzo, a Casey spokesman, said in an email, "Sen. Casey is hopeful the Judiciary Committee will move forward on Judge Restrepo's nomination without delay. Sen. Casey believes Judge Restrepo is a highly qualified candidate who will make an excellent judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals."

Sen. Grassley spokeswoman on scheduled June 25 Judiciary Committee vote on Judge Restrepo Third Circuit nomination
(Republican - Iowa) 06/23/15
Legal Intelligencer: "A U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee vote to confirm Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is likely to be pushed back, once again delaying the already-drawn-out confirmation process. While no official word has been given that a request for a delay has been made by committee members, Beth Levine, spokeswoman for the Judiciary Committee chairman, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in an email that it was safe to assume the confirmation vote for Restrepo will be held over."

Sen. Toomey spokeswoman on whether he will ask Senate Judiciary Republicans not to delay scheduled June 25 Committee vote on Judge Restrepo Third Circuit nomination
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 06/23/15
Legal Intelligencer: "But Toomey spokeswoman E.R. Anderson said Toomey's hands are tied because he is not a member of the Judiciary Committee. "Toomey wants Restrepo confirmed," Anderson said in an email, but cannot control the scheduling of the committee's votes.""

Editorial quotes Sen. Fischer on district court nominee Robert Rossiter Jr.
(Republican - Nebraska) 06/17/15
Sen. Deb Fischer told The World-Herald she’s confident the nomination will win Senate confirmation. “He’s supported by Republicans and Democrats throughout the state,” she said. “I expect the confirmation will go smoothly.”

Senators Hirono and Schatz Recommend Judicial Nominees to White House for U.S. District Court Vacancy
(Democrat - Hawaii) 06/16/15
Senator Hirono and Senator Schatz wrote in a letter to the President, “We arrived at these recommendations after creating a commission of distinguished members of the Hawaii bar and tasking them with receiving and screening applications. From the applications the commission received, a short list of candidates was submitted to our offices for interviews. The commission’s review process coupled with our own interviews helped us identify individuals with outstanding qualifications who we believe would make excellent nominees to the court.”

Sen. Fischer Weekly Column: Resilience and Integrity
(Republican - Nebraska) 06/15/15
"President Obama has nominated Bob Rossiter of Omaha to be a federal district court judge for the District of Nebraska. I had the privilege of calling Bob to inform him of this wonderful news. ... I am thankful to Bob for his willingness to enter public service, and I look forward to working with him through the confirmation process."

Sen. Toomey spokesman on recommended federal judge
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 06/14/15
Spokesmen for Pennsylvania U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican, confirmed that the senators have recommended to President Barack Obama a candidate for the vacant seat in U.S. District Court in Erie. ... Rizzo and Toomey spokeswoman E.R. Anderson, however, declined to name the candidate. "Sens. Casey and Toomey have worked well together, on a bipartisan basis, to nominate and confirm 14 judges in Pennsylvania. They hope to continue that record of success with the district judge seat in Erie and have suggested a candidate to the White House. However, we will stick to our practice of not commenting further while the process is ongoing," Anderson said.

Sen. Casey spokesman on recommended U.S. district judge
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 06/14/15
Spokesmen for Pennsylvania U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican, confirmed that the senators have recommended to President Barack Obama a candidate for the vacant seat in U.S. District Court in Erie. "Working in a bipartisan fashion, Sens. Casey and Toomey have recommended candidates to the White House for U.S. District Court vacancies, including the one in Erie," Casey spokesman John Rizzo said. Rizzo and Toomey spokeswoman E.R. Anderson, however, declined to name the candidate.

Sen. Grassley statement on judicial nominations to Des Moines Register Editorial Board
(Republican - Iowa) 06/11/15
"Grassley assures that he is moving ahead on all judicial nominees that have sent over from the White House, including courts of appeals judges, which can be contentious, and trial-court judges, which typically are less controversial. "The Judiciary Committee is moving nominees through the process in the same timeframe, or even better, as established under the former majority," Grassley said in a statement sent to the Register. Grassley's staff said he is moving judicial nominees out of the committee at the same pace as the committee did during the last two years of President George W. Bush's term, when the Senate was controlled by the Democrats.... Grassley also uses an important qualifier when talking about the nominees he will move through his committee, however: only those with bipartisan support. "I've said from my first day as chairman that I'll seek to move consensus nominees," Grassley said. "Senator McConnell knows that nominees must have both Republican and Democrat support, or the simple math tells us that they won't get 50 votes.""

Sens. Booker, Menendez Applaud Nomination of Brian Martinotti for Federal Judgeship
(Democrat - New Jersey) 06/11/15
“I know Brian Martinotti to be an exceptionally capable jurist who presides with an abiding commitment to integrity and justice,” Sen. Booker said. “Brian’s distinguished career as a civil trial attorney and judge on New Jersey’s Superior Court have prepared him to effectively serve the people of New Jersey and our nation on the federal bench. I look forward to celebrating his swift confirmation by the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate.” “For over ten years, Judge Martinotti has shown that he has the legal judgement and judicial temperament to be an excellent addition to the New Jersey District Court,” Sen. Menendez said. “I whole-heartily endorse his nomination to the bench. I urge my colleagues and the Judiciary Committee to swiftly confirm this eminently qualified nominee.”

Sen. Toomey testifies at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Judge Restrepo's Third Circuit nomination
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 06/10/15
“He has risen to the very top of his chosen profession by virtue of his hard work, his intellect and his integrity,” Toomey said of Restrepo. “I'm completely confident that Judge Restrepo's judicial experience, his legal acumen, and his dedication to public service will serve him well and serve all of us well should he be appointed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.” Toomey, who had previously recommended Judge Restrepo for the vacant seat, said that he hoped to see the judge, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to his current post in 2013, confirmed again without any opposition this year.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley Prepared Statement at Judicial Nominations Hearing
(Republican - Iowa) 06/10/15
"Today’s hearing is the 6th nominations hearing this year during which we will have considered a total of 17 nominees (4 executive and 13 judicial nominees). This total includes hearings for both the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. This is almost identical to the standard established in 2007 when the Democrats were in charge and President Bush was in the White House. By the end of June 2007, this Committee held 5 nominations hearings for a total of 17 nominees. And regarding circuit court nominations, I would note that at this point in 2007, the Committee had held a hearing for two circuit court nominees. Likewise, including today’s hearing, we will have held hearings for two circuit court nominees."

(Republican - Tennessee) 06/10/15
"I am here to support them wholeheartedly. I thank you for this hearing. I think you will find their testimony before you to be very, very good. I certainly hope that we promptly put [them] in these outstanding positions that they deserve."

Senator Alexander Judicial Nominations 6-10-2015
(Republican - Tennessee) 06/10/15
Video: Senator Alexander introduced Mr. Waverly Crenshaw and Mr. Travis McDonough and asked that the Judiciary committee support their nominations to be District Court Judges for Tennessee’s Middle and Eastern Districts.

Sen. Corker Introduces McDonough and Crenshaw at Senate Judiciary Nomination Hearing
(Republican - Tennessee) 06/10/15
Video: Sen. Corker introduced Travis Randall McDonough and Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. at a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing. McDonough, of Chattanooga, has been nominated to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Crenshaw, of Nashville, has been nominated to serve as a United States District Court Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Sen. Reid Floor Statement: JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS
(Democrat - Nevada) 06/08/15
"The Republican Senate hasn't confirmed even a single circuit court judge--not even a consensus nominee such as Kara Stoll to the Federal Circuit. She was reported out of committee by a voice vote in April. Nothing so far--they are not even having hearings, I repeat, on most nominees. Therefore, there is no one to report to the floor. Actions speak louder than words, and the majority leader can demonstrate that his remarks were misinterpreted--and I would certainly hope so--by scheduling a prompt vote on the Stoll nomination. We should schedule a vote on her nomination no later than this week. Kara Stoll is the only appeals court judge awaiting a vote before the Senate. For the reasons I have just said, people have been in the pipeline, but they won't hold hearings. Both of these nominations--Restrepo and Stoll--need a vote now."

Sen. McConnell spokesman on judicial nominations
(Republican - Kentucky) 06/06/15
Mitch McConnell is denying there’s a shutdown on President Obama’s federal court nominees —despite comments the Senate majority leader made on Thursday indicating such a freeze. The clarification comes as several of McConnell’s GOP colleagues are working with the administration to fill circuit-court vacancies affecting their home states. In an interview with the conservative Hugh Hewitt show on Thursday, McConnell (R-Ky.) noted that the Senate so far this year has only confirmed federal district court nominees who had support from Republican senators. McConnell then predicted the trend would continue. “And do you expect that that will continue to be the case for the balance of this session?” Hewitt asked. “I think that’s highly likely, yeah,” McConnell responded. But McConnell spokesman Don Stewart says that doesn’t mean Obama will not get another appellate pick confirmed before he leaves office. “He said nothing of the sort. He said we’re going to continue to do judges. There’s not a shutdown,” Stewart said. “We probably will have a circuit court nominee.”

Sen. McConnell interview on blocking judicial nominations
(Republican - Kentucky) 06/04/15
Hewitt: My last question goes to judicial nominations. I am one of those people who wouldn’t confirm another judge given the antics they pulled last year, but what is the situation vis a vis federal judicial nominations and the process in the Senate right now? McConnell: Well, so far, the only judges we’ve confirmed have been federal district judges that have been signed off on by Republican Senators. Hewitt: And do you expect that that will continue to be the case for the balance of this session? McConnell: I think that’s highly likely, yeah.

Feinstein Applauds Judiciary Committee Approval of Drozd Nomination
(Democrat - California) 06/04/15
“I would like to say to my colleagues that Magistrate Judge Dale Drozd enjoys my full support for his appointment to be a U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of California.... Five different United States Attorneys who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations over the course of over 20 years have endorsed his nomination ... I would also add a point from the U.S. Attorneys’ letter about the crushing caseload in this district. Their letter states: ‘[o]ur district has an extremely heavy case load and has been operating with a vacant judgeship for two and a half years. It is vitally important to the fair administration of justice that the long-vacant judicial vacancy in our Fresno district be promptly filled.’ As my colleagues may know, the Eastern District has only six judgeships for 55 percent of California’s land area and a population of nearly 8 million people. The district currently has over 1,000 weighted filings per judgeship. It has topped over 1,100 in several recent years. This is about twice the national average. The Eastern District is consistently ranked at or near the top of federal districts needing additional judgeships."

Ranking Member Leahy Statement at Senate Judiciary Committee Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/04/15
"We have four district court nominees on today’s agenda – three of which will fill judicial emergency vacancies."

Sen. Casey on Judiciary Committee hearing on Judge Restrepo's Third Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 06/04/15
“Judge Restrepo is an excellent nominee for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and I’m pleased this hearing has now been scheduled. I’m hopeful that the Judiciary Committee will move this nomination quickly so Judge Restrepo can continue his service on behalf of our nation,” Casey said in a statement sent to The Legal on Thursday. “I’ve appreciated working with Senator Toomey in a bipartisan and productive fashion to move forward on highly qualified candidates for the federal bench.”