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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Sen. Baldwin and spokesperson on Wisconsin Seventh Circuit vacancy
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 05/26/15
Baldwin spokesman John Kraus accused Johnson of stalling efforts to fill the seat since he joined the Senate more than four years ago. ... In December, Baldwin wrote the commissioners asking them to redouble their efforts to find four to six candidates.... "One thing is clear, there has been a court vacancy for 1,961 days and Senator Johnson seems content to stall the process," Kraus said. "Senator Baldwin believes it is important that action be taken to put a judge in place to serve. That is why she has sent to the White House eight finalists from the bipartisan commission."

Sen. Ron Johnson Contacts White House Regarding Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Nomination
(Republican - Wisconsin) 05/22/15
Senator Johnson made the following statement: “It is unfortunate that Senator Baldwin chose partisanship and politics over what is in the best interest of the people of Wisconsin. However, I remain committed to the process that has been highly successful and I agree that, even with a decreasing caseload, it is time to fill the Seventh Circuit seat. I have therefore informed the White House that I will continue vetting and will consider supporting either of the two candidates who received bipartisan support from our judicial commission. I encourage the White House and Senator Baldwin to take this recommendation seriously and to refrain from further obstruction of this process.”

Sen. Baldwin's spokesman on Wisconsin 7th Circuit vacancy
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 05/22/15
[S]pokesman, John Kraus, said in a statement that "this vacancy on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is now over five years old and Senator Johnson has obstructed action since he arrived in the Senate in 2010. One thing is clear, there has been a court vacancy for 1,961 days and Senator Johnson seems content to stall the process." Kraus said Johnson is "opposing eight qualified and experienced Wisconsinites." ... Kraus said the eight applicants all welcomed having their names sent to the White House.

Sen. Leahy Congressional Record statement on Judicial Vacancies and Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/21/15
"Both of these individuals were nominated last September--more than 8 months ago. After receiving a hearing in January, they were voted out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously by voice vote in February. Their nominations have now been on the Executive Calendar for nearly 3 months. There is no good reason why these nominees should have waited this long for a vote. ...after today's votes only 4 district court judges will have been confirmed this year. In contrast, when the Democrats were in an equivalent position in 2007, the seventh year of the Bush administration, we had confirmed 18 ... half or nine of the judges confirmed in the first 5 months of 2007, were not among those left pending on the Senate Executive Calendar at the end of 2006.... There is nothing keeping the Senate from confirming all 10 nominees--nothing, except for the mindset of delay for delay's sake, which is unfortunately the hallmark of the majority's leadership on nominations."

Sen. Lee Applauds Confirmation of Justice Jill Parrish to Federal Bench; Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement regarding the confirmation of Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish as a federal judge for the district of Utah.
(Republican - Utah) 05/21/15
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement regarding the confirmation of Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish as a federal judge for the district of Utah. “I am thrilled that the Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Justice Jill Parrish today. She has distinguished herself though her time as an extraordinary prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s office, through her work as a litigator in private practice, and her service as a justice on Utah’s Supreme Court. Justice Parrish is a friend to all who know her, and a credit to the legal profession and to jurists everywhere. I can’t think of anyone better suited to fill the very large shoes of Judge Dee Benson than Justice Parrish, and thank her for her willingness to serve in this capacity. Today is a good day for Utah, and a good day for the Federal Judiciary.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley Prepared Statement, Executive Business Meeting
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 05/21/15
"Today, we have 4 district court nominees on the agenda ... Dale Drozd, for the Eastern District of California; Ann Donnelly, for the Eastern District of New York; Lawrence Vilardo, for the Western District of New York; and LaShann DeArcy for the Eastern District of New York. There’s a request to hold over these nominations, so at the appropriate time, I’ll ask that they be held over."

Sen. Reid Remarks On Republican Obstruction Of Qualified Nominees
(Democrat - Nevada) 05/18/15
"In the Judiciary Committee, I recently spoke about the nomination of Judge Felipe Restrepo who is being delayed despite bipartisan support from Pennsylvania’s Senators. Judge Restrepo is just one of 20 pending nominees awaiting a hearing in the Judiciary Committee. Committee consideration is not the only obstacle to confirmation. The Republican Leader also slows down the consideration of nominees on the floor. The Republicans’ refusal to consider the President’s judicial nominees is especially pronounced. It has been almost one month since the Senate last voted on a judicial nomination. ... we’ve only considered 2 judges in this entire Congress. When we began the year, there were 12 judicial emergencies. Today there are 25 judicial emergencies – more than double. In Texas alone, there are 8 judicial emergencies, the most of any state in the nation. Judge Jose Rolando Olvera has been nominated to fill a judicial emergency in the Southern District of Texas. His nomination is not controversial. It was reported out of the Judiciary Committee by voice vote in February. At his hearing, the Assistant Majority Leader said he expected that the Texas judges would be confirmed expeditiously. So why is this noncontroversial nomination being delayed for months on the Senate floor? Is this the type of swift confirmation that Texans can expect from their leaders?"

Toomey Submits Blue Slip, but Will Restrepo Get a Hearing?
(Republican - Iowa) 05/18/15
Beth Levine, spokeswoman for Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ... said Monday, "Chairman Grassley anticipates that Judge Restrepo will be included in the next nominations hearing, but an exact date has not been determined because it's not clear what other nominations will also be ready to include."

Sen. Coats calls for judicial nominating commission
(Republican - Indiana) 05/13/15
Expanding on his call for a commission, Coats described his relationship with Donnelly as a good working relationship and he hopes they will be able to agree on forming a nomination group. Coats said given the political climate in Washington, D.C., Hoosiers would be best served by removing the nomination process from politics and assigning it to a commission that would take a bipartisan, consensus-driven approach to finding qualified candidates. Details of who would be appointed to such a commission and how the members would vet and nominate candidates remain to be determined, Coats said. However, he noted, in the past Indiana’s senators, the governor and the chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court have all chosen individuals to serve on such commissions.

Sen. Coats Calls for Commission to Fill Indiana Judicial Vacancies
(Republican - Indiana) 05/13/15
Three vacancies presently exist: the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. An additional vacancy will arise on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana upon Judge Robert Miller’s transition to senior status in January 2016. “We need to ensure that fair and qualified public servants with Hoosier common-sense are chosen for these important roles,” said Coats. “The citizens of Indiana will be best served by a nomination process that is taken completely out of politics. I hope we can establish an equitable process for the remainder of this Congress that focuses on vacancies where workloads are most urgent.”

Sen. Donnelly on filling federal court vacancies
(Democrat - Indiana) 05/13/15
Sen. Dan Coats is calling for the appointment of a commission to assist in finding and nominating candidates for the vacancies on the federal bench.... Sen. Joe Donnelly said Sen. Coats never raised this idea with him, and he only learned about it after the press release that was issued by Coats’ office Wednesday. “Frankly, I am still trying to determine why it was put forward at this time,” Donnelly said. “I have been working nonstop on this effort for 17 months now within the contours of an agreement I reached with Sen. Coats at the start. My goal remains the same and that is to fill these vacancies with qualified individuals.”

Sen. Toomey: I am not delaying Judge L. Felipe Restrepo’s 3rd Circuit nomination
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 05/13/15
Letter to the Editor: "I fully support the president’s proposal to elevate Judge Restrepo to the 3rd Circuit, just as I supported his confirmation to the federal district court.... I have made it clear to the committee that I plan to turn in my “blue slip” — the formal manifestation of my support for Judge Restrepo — the day that investigation is completed, provided no issues of concern are discovered."

Sen. Casey spokesperson on Judge Restrepo Third Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 05/13/15
[Sen.] Casey spokesman John Rizzo said that his senator is ready to get Restrepo confirmed already. "Judge Restrepo has had a distinguished legal career as an attorney in private practice, a federal magistrate and now as a District Court judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania," said Rizzo. "Senator Casey is hopeful and optimistic that Judge Restrepo will soon be confirmed on a bipartisan basis.”

Judiciary Chariman Grassley Statement at Judicial Nominations Hearing
(Republican - Iowa) 05/06/15
"And regarding circuit court nominations, I would note that at this point in 2007, under the Leahy standard, the Committee had held a hearing for one circuit court nomination. Thus far in the 114th Congress, we have followed the Leahy standard and held a hearing and processed out of committee one circuit court nominee, Kara Stoll."

(Democrat - Nevada) 05/06/15
"Restrepo and others will not be on the agenda. Despite the fact that this Philadelphia-based seat is a judicial emergency, they just ignore people like Restrepo. They say: We only have a few people on the calendar. Why aren't there more on the calendar? Because they won't schedule hearings. It is so unfair. Now Restrepo won't be on the agenda in spite of the fact that the junior Senator from Pennsylvania said Restrepo would be a ``superb addition to the third circuit.'' Why doesn't the junior Senator from Pennsylvania talk about this man being held up by his own party? There is no reason he has been held up for 6 months other than the Republicans simply want to do everything they can to create problems for President Obama. But it is not a problem for President Obama. President Obama is doing just fine. It is a problem for the people I have talked about--the prosecutors, those who are accused of crimes, plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases, and, of course, the judges."

Sen. Reid Remarks On Senate Republicans’ Refusal to Confirm Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Nevada) 05/06/15
"Here in this body, justice is being delayed by the Republican majority. Republicans’ refusal to heed their constitutional duty in providing their advice and consent on judicial nominations is an injustice to the American people. So far this year the Senate has confirmed two judicial nominees. Just two. ... there are 55 federal court vacancies, 24 of which are classified as judicial emergencies. At the beginning of the year, there were only 12 judicial emergencies. These vacancies create a backlog of cases, effectively delaying justice ... This afternoon, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on several delayed judicial nominations. Felipe Restrepo, a Court of Appeals nominee to the Third Circuit will not be on the agenda, despite being nominated by the President six months ago. He will not be on the agenda, despite the fact that this Philadelphia-based seat is a judicial emergency. He will not be on the agenda, despite the public support of the junior Senator from Pennsylvania who said Judge Restrepo would be “a superb addition to the Third Circuit.” Why doesn’t he come here – the junior Senator from Pennsylvania – to talk about this man being held up by his own party?"

Sen. Toomey delaying hearing for nominee he claimed credit for recommending
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 05/05/15
Roll Call column: The locus of the new fight is L. Felipe Restrepo, chosen by the president six months ago for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. ... Adding to the mystery behind the Restrepo delay is the fact that one of the judge’s most important public supporters, Republican Patrick J. Toomey, has not returned the endorsement form (known as a “blue slip”) the committee requires from each home-state senator before a judicial confirmation process begins. He and Pennsylvania’s other senator, Democrat Bob Casey, jointly recommended Restrepo for the lower court, and last fall Toomey declared “he will also make a superb addition to the Third Circuit.” Toomey’s office declined to discuss the missing blue slip, but spokeswoman E.R. Anderson said Toomey still supports confirmation “and hopes it gets done this year.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley delaying hearing
(Republican - Iowa) 05/05/15
Roll Call column: The locus of the new fight is L. Felipe Restrepo, chosen by the president six months ago for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. ... The seat has been open for 18 months, and as a result, the caseload recently became so backlogged that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts declared a “judicial emergency” for appeals out of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.... The staff for Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley ... say the committee is still reviewing the latest background check — something of a curiosity, given that only two years ago the FBI conducted a thorough review of the 56-year-old Restrepo’s life before he was confirmed (on a voice vote) for his current job as a federal trial court judge in Philadelphia."

Sen. Grassley on Timing of Hearing on Judge L. Felipe Restrepo's Third Circuit Nomination
(Republican - Iowa) 05/05/15
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, suggested Tuesday that he'll schedule a hearing for Restrepo as soon as Toomey gives him the go-ahead. "When I get the blue slips returned," Grassley said on timing.

Sen. Toomey on why he is denying hearing for Judge L. Felipe Restrepo Third Circuit November 2014 nomination he recommended
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 05/05/15
When asked Tuesday if he's withholding his blue slip, the Republican senator gave The Huffington Post a confusing answer. "No, I'm not. Well, let me explain how that works to you. But I've got to run for this lunch," he said, walking away quickly. "But I support his confirmation." Toomey said he didn't have any new concerns about Restrepo and that he would turn in his blue slip. At some point. "I will be submitting it at the appropriate time," he said, before disappearing into an elevator. Aides to Toomey didn't offer much clarity. His spokesman said only that the senator "supports Judge Restrepo" and will "continue working for Judge Restrepo's confirmation and hopes it gets done this year."

Sen. Leahy, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Executive Business Meeting Statement
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/30/15
"Unfortunately, there are no judicial nominees on today’s agenda. This is because this Committee has not held a hearing on a judicial nomination in more than seven weeks and we have several well qualified nominees waiting for a hearing. Five of the pending judicial nominees were nominated over five months ago, including three who will fill judicial emergency vacancies. Chairman Grassley noticed a nominations hearing for next week, and I hope it will include Luis Felipe Restrepo, a nominee from Pennsylvania for the Third Circuit. Judge Restrepo was unanimously confirmed by the Senate two years ago by voice vote to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. By all accounts he has done an outstanding job. He was nominated to the Third Circuit over five months ago with the support of Senators Casey and Toomey. In the time his nomination has been pending, the judgeship he will fill has become a “judicial emergency vacancy.” I hope this judicial emergency vacancy will be considered soon."

Sens. Crapo, Risch Statement on Judicial Nomination Process
(Republican - Idaho) 04/30/15
“Several news outlets have inquired about the selection of a U.S. District Judge for Idaho. We want a confidential process and applicants have also requested a confidential process. Men and women, sitting judges and attorneys, are being interviewed. The process is ongoing. The White House will make the final selection with the Senate voting on confirmation of the nomination.”

Sen. Grassley Press Conference on Senate Judiciary Committee Agenda
(Republican - Iowa) 04/27/15

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/23/15
“I also hope we can report Kara Stoll to be a United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit and Roseann Ketchmark to be a United States District Judge for the Western District of Missouri. This committee has not held a hearing on single judicial nomination in more than six weeks and we have several well qualified nominees waiting for a hearing. I hope Chairman Grassley will soon schedule a nominations hearing so that states like California, New York and Pennsylvania will not have the long standing vacancies that the state of Texas has endured.”

Senate Democrats on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont, Michigan, New York) 04/23/15
C-SPAN VIDEO: Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) held a news conference to urge Senate Republicans to begin confirming judicial nominees. They also spoke about Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/20/15
"Judge Hanks is just the second judicial nominee that we have voted to confirm more than 3 months into the 114th Congress. The slow trickle of confirmations that the new majority has allowed is undermining the functioning of our Federal courts and is hurting the American people. This past month, the Wall Street Journal wrote an alarming article about the backlog of civil cases in our Federal courts. ... First, the Senate should confirm every single one of the nine judicial nominees on the Executive Calendar without further delay. Besides Judge Hanks , there are two other Federal district court nominees pending on the Executive Calendar, both from States with two Republican home State Senators. Both of those nominees were reported out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously by voice vote. One of the nominees will fill a judicial emergency vacancy in Texas that has remained unfilled for more than 2 years. This type of neglect is unacceptable. In addition, there are five other nominees to the Court of Federal Claims and a nominee for the Court of International Trade. None of these nominees are controversial and they could easily be confirmed by a simple voice vote if Republicans would allow. After today's confirmation vote, there will be 53 vacancies on our Federal courts. But even if we filled every one of these vacancies, we still would have to address the growing needs of our co-equal branch of government that is struggling with heavy caseloads. Last month, the Judicial Conference of the United States, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, identified the need for adding 73 permanent judgeships, as well as converting 9 temporary district court judgeships to permanent status. The Senate should be working in a bipartisan manner to provide the Federal Judiciary with the resources it needs, including the addition of woefully-needed additional judgeships."

Sen. Grassley on lagging GOP-led Senate’s pace on nominations
(Republican - Iowa) 04/20/15
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the GOP-led Senate’s pace on nominations lags because Democrats already approved all of the nominees in December that Republicans would have been working on this year. “In November and December — contrary to tradition — the Democrats cleared the slate of nominees that were on the calendar after the election,” Grassley said. “We would have actually moved them through and had them through the Senate right now. So it was done in December instead of now.” A spokeswoman for Grassley also noted that so far in his presidency, Obama has had 308 judicial nominees confirmed — while Bush had 273 judges confirmed at the same point in his White House tenure.

Sen. Grassley Floor Statement: Nomination of George Hanks & General Judicial Progress
(Republican - Iowa) 04/20/15
"At the end of the day, when we include the 11 district court nominees who were confirmed at the end of last year, we are at about the same pace that the Democratically led Senate was in 2007 during the Bush administration."

Sen. Schumer on delay of district court and other nominees
(Democrat - New York) 04/20/15
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has done little to bring up nominations for a vote by the full Senate. That has Democrats accusing Republicans of slow-walking the nominations amid lingering anger over the nuclear option. “It’s appalling,” groused Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Senate Democrat. “I mean, how many times are they just going to throw logs on the process of government? I mean, even district court judges, for lord’s sake.”