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Sen. Grassley: Iowa Federal Judicial Nominee, Ebinger, Clears Senate
(Republican - Ohio) 02/09/16
"I’m very proud of the work my colleague, Senator Ernst, and I have done to fill vacancies in Iowa’s district courts by putting forward two exceptionally talented and qualified nominees, Judges Ebinger and Strand. I said this in committee, but for the benefit of all my colleagues, the Iowa nominees are two of the best judicial candidates the President has nominated during his Presidency."

Sen. Leahy Statement [on judicial nominees and vacancies]
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/08/16
"Judicial nominees not only deserve our independent and considered judgement, it is our constitutional obligation as Senators to provide it. The duty to provide advice and consent on the President's nominees is our own and cannot be abdicated to Washington political action committees. This is especially true when such political action committees are advocating that we turn our backs on the American people by completely shutting down the judicial confirmation process.... Senate Republicans took over the majority in January of last year, there were 43 judicial vacancies. Since then, vacancies have dramatically increased to 77--an increase of more than 75 percent. Furthermore, the number of judicial vacancies deemed to be ``emergencies'' by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts because caseloads in those courts are unmanageably high has nearly tripled under Republican Senate leadership--from 12 when Republicans took over last year to 32 today.... Senate Democrats helped confirm all 10 of President Bush's district court nominees pending on the Senate floor in a single day by unanimous consent on September 26, 2008. This was similarly true in 2004 .... There are 19 judicial nominees awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor. The next judicial nominee pending after we return from the President's Day recess will be Waverly Crenshaw, an exceptional African-American district court nominee from Tennessee who has the support of his Republican home State Senators, Senators Alexander and Corker. I hope the Senators from Tennessee will be able to convince their majority leader to schedule the Tennessee nominee's vote to occur this month. This is an emergency judicial vacancy in their State, so it is clear that this position is sorely needed for Tennesseans to receive swift justice"

POLITICO quotes Sen. Perdue on blocking hearing for district court nominee
(Republican - Georgia) 02/02/16
Lopez has run afoul of Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who's blocking him from a federal judgeship in the Northern District of Georgia, citing Lopez’s lengthy involvement with a nonpartisan Latino state group .... “I’ve made my decision. I’m not going to reverse that decision,” Perdue said in a recent interview. “I think it’s the right thing to do to protect the integrity of the bench and the nomination process.”

Republican Home-State Senators Urge Immediate Action on Federal Judicial Nominees Pending in Feb. 2016 (IN, IA, KS, NE, OK, PA, TN, UT)
(Republican - Utah, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas) 02/01/16
Links and Quotations

Sen. Toomey on Judiciary Committee approval of two PA district court nominees and delay of two others
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 01/29/16
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, also said he was glad for Baxter and Horan's approval in the committee, adding, "I hope the Judiciary Committee also will approve Judge Robert J. Colville to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Judge John M. Younge to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania."

Sen. Casey on Judiciary Committee voice vote of two PA district court nominees and delay of two others
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 01/29/16
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, praised Baxter and Horan as excellent jurists, and the committee for passing them to the Senate for confirmation. "It is my hope and expectation that the Judiciary Committee will also quickly report out the nominations of Judge John M. Younge ... and Judge Robert J. Colville," Casey said.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting January 28, 2016
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/28/16
"I am glad we are voting today on three district court nominees, including two from Pennsylvania. However, I had expected to see listed on today’s agenda the two other Pennsylvania nominees who have received a hearing. Both of these nominees have the strong bipartisan support of their home state Senators. Mr. Chairman, last week you said members needed time to review these nominees’ responses to follow up Questions for the Record. These responses were submitted to the Committee last Monday. When do you expect the Committee will be ready to consider these other two Pennsylvania nominees?"

Sen. Toomey: Judge Nominees for Pittsburgh and Erie Clear Judiciary Committee
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 01/28/16
"I am delighted that Judges Baxter and Horan are one step closer to Senate confirmation with the Judiciary Committee's favorable action today," said Sen. Toomey. "It's an honor to work with Sen. Casey on a bipartisan basis to recommend Pennsylvanians who have the acumen, integrity, and respect for the limited role of the judiciary that they need to excel as federal judges. And we have had great success over the years. "I am especially glad to see progress in confirming a judge who will sit in the federal courthouse in Erie, which has been vacant for 2 ½ years. "I hope the Judiciary Committee also will approve Judge Robert J. Colville to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Judge John M. Younge to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania."

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting January 28, 2016
(Republican - Iowa) 01/28/16
"We have three nominees to be District Court Judge. They are: - Mary McElroy, District of Rhode Island - Susan Baxter, Western District of Pennsylvania - Marilyn Horan, Western District of Pennsylvania I’d note that we didn’t include the other two district court nominees from Pennsylvania on this week’s agenda. Members on our side are still reviewing their records and answers to written questions. After consulting with the Senators from Pennsylvania, they indicated they’d like the Pennsylvania nominees on today’s agenda to move out of Committee, so we will vote on all three nominees on the agenda today."

Sen. Casey: Judge Nominees for Pittsburgh and Erie Clear Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 01/28/16
"I'm pleased that the Judiciary Committee has reported out the nominations of Judge Susan P. Baxter and Judge Marilyn J. Horan, both of whom have been nominated to the federal district court for the Western District of Pennsylvania," Sen. Casey said. "Judge Baxter has been an excellent jurist during her two decades as a Federal Magistrate Judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Judge Marilyn Horan has spent her legal career serving the people of Western Pennsylvania and will do excellent work on the federal bench in the Western District of Pennsylvania. It is my hope and expectation that the Judiciary Committee will also quickly report out the nominations of Judge John M. Younge, who has been nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Judge Robert J. Colville, who has been nominated to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. "I worked with Sen. Toomey to recommend Judges Baxter, Horan, Younge, and Colville to the White House as a bipartisan package. This is consistent with the practice Sen. Toomey and I have followed successfully in securing the confirmation of 14 Federal District Court Judges and two Third Circuit Court Judges over the past five years. All four are highly qualified candidates and I urge the Senate to move forward with their nominations in the coming weeks."

Sen. Menendez Floor Statement [on Vazquez nomination to fill a New Jersey judicial emergency vacancy]
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/27/16
"I can say without equivocation that justice does indeed reside in the heart and soul of John Vazquez . He is an eminently qualified nominee with impressive credentials and experience who will fill a judicial emergency vacancy in the District of New Jersey. In addition to intellect, judgment, temperament, observance of the rule of law, and separation of powers, he diversifies our judiciary as a Hispanic American, which is something I think is also very important--to be able to have any American walk into any court in the land and believe the possibility that someone like them may very well be sitting in judgment of them."

Sens. Menendez, Booker Applaud Senate Confirmation of Vazquez to Judgeship in NJ
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/27/16
“This day has been a long time coming, and New Jerseyans who have waited to have their day in court will find a dedicated public servant with great legal acumen in Judge Vazquez,” said Senator Menendez, who recommended Vazquez for appointment. “He is an eminently qualified and experienced jurist who fully embodies respect for the notion of equal justice under law. I hope this confirmation builds the momentum we need to make progress in filling vacancies in the federal bench and address New Jersey’s judicial emergency.” “I congratulate John Vazquez on his confirmation as a US District Court judge,” said Sen. Booker. “Mr. Vazquez has shown himself to be deeply committed to public service, supremely talented and qualified, and devoted to the values of fairness and equal justice. Today, I celebrate all that New Jersey stands to gain from his continued leadership in this new role, and I hope the Senate continues to move swiftly to fill vacancies on the federal bench.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/27/16
"Senate Republicans delayed the confirmation of Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo, the first Hispanic judge from Pennsylvania nominated to the Third Circuit, for more than a year. ... the junior Senator from Arkansas continues to impose a wholesale blockade on the nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, including Armando Bonilla .... Mr. Bonilla would be the first Hispanic judge to hold a seat on that court, where he is urgently needed. The Chief Judge of the Court of Federal Claims has written to Chairman Grassley and me to express the need to confirm the pending nominees. ... the junior Senator from Georgia announced that he was withdrawing his support for the nomination of a Hispanic nominee to a Federal district court in Georgia. Judge Dax López ... After recommending him to the White House, it is unfortunate that the junior Senator from Georgia is now blocking his nomination because of Judge López’s membership on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials."

Sen. Booker Floor statement [on Vazquez nomination and need to fill New Jersey judicial emergency vacancies]
(Democrat - New Jersey) 01/27/16
"The district of New Jersey currently has four judicial vacancies, all of which are judicial emergencies. This means that a very heavy caseload exists in that judicial district which, if left unremedied, undermines the quality and pace of access to justice for the people of New Jersey. According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, each judgeship in the district of New Jersey has over 650 weighted filings. That is unacceptable. Senator Menendez and I are committed to breaking the logjam and ensuring New Jerseyans gain more access to justice.... I urge my fellow Senators today to confirm Mr. Vasquez as a United States district judge to the district of New Jersey. I look forward to continue working with Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Leahy and Senate leadership to confirm more judicial nominees to fill vacancies in the district of New Jersey so that we can eliminate existing judicial emergencies."

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
(Republican - Iowa) 01/21/16
"We have three nominees to be District Court Judge. They are: - Mary McElroy, District of Rhode Island - Susan Baxter, Western District of Pennsylvania - Marilyn Horan, Western District of Pennsylvania This is the first time they are on the agenda and there is a request to hold them over, so they’ll be held over. I’d note that we didn’t include the other two district court nominees from Pennsylvania on this week’s agenda. Those nominees didn’t thoroughly answer several of the written questions we asked. We then sent follow-up written questions seeking clarification. While we are currently reviewing these responses to the follow-up questions I will say it’s important that nominees respect the process and respond to the questions Senators ask."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/21/16
"I expected to see all four nominees from Pennsylvania listed on today’s agenda. I understand they have the support of Senators Toomey and Casey. I am disappointed that only two of them are listed even though all four have bipartisan support. But I understand two were given follow up Questions for the Record, and they have submitted their responses to the Committee. I expect with the additional time Senators will have to review those responses, these two nominees will be listed on the next markup."

Sen. Isakson on Sen. Perdue blocking hearing on Judge Dax Lopez distrct court nomination
(Republican - Georgia) 01/21/16
Sen. Isakson said he respected Perdue’s decision but is “disappointed that Judge Lopez won’t get a hearing.”

Senator David Perdue Statement On Georgia Judicial Nomination
(Republican - Georgia) 01/21/16
“Considering a nominee for lifetime appointment to our federal courts is one of the most significant responsibilities I have as a United States Senator and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I take this responsibility all the more seriously when considering nominees to federal courts in my home state of Georgia. “After a thorough review of the professional and judicial record of DeKalb County Judge Dax Lopez, I have become uncomfortable with his longstanding participation in a controversial organization including his service on its board of directors. I am particularly concerned with his continued participation with this organization and his public comments after he became a state judge. Unfortunately, our personal meeting, while cordial and informative, did not fully alleviate my concerns. Furthermore, I believe similar concerns would be raised by many of my colleagues, making Judge Lopez’s final confirmation unattainable. “I thank Judge Lopez for his service to the people of DeKalb County, but I am unable to support his nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia moving forward.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Should Ignore Special Interests & Confirm Consensus Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/20/16
In the last five presidential election years, the Senate has confirmed an average of 30 judicial nominees in the final year prior to Election Day. Despite the Senate’s well-established practice of confirming consensus nominees even in presidential election years, news reports have indicated that conservative activists are demanding the Republican majority shutdown the confirmation process entirely. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who while chairman moved 68 nominees through the confirmation process during the last two years of the Bush administration, urged Republicans not to subject consensus judicial nominees to partisan politics. “Any attempt to shut down the judicial confirmation process to satisfy moneyed Washington interest groups would be wrong. It would only work to harm our justice system and the American people we were elected to represent,” Leahy said.... Outstanding nominees from Tennessee, Maryland, New Jersey, Nebraska, New York, and California are still pending on the floor, and nearly all of them would fill emergency vacancies. Four district court nominees from Pennsylvania and one district court nominee from Rhode Island are awaiting a vote in the Judiciary Committee. And nominees from Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana are all waiting for a confirmation meeting. Leahy said: “It is up to the Senators from those states to urge their leadership to consider these nominees without delay so they can serve the people of those great states.”

SENS. KLOBUCHAR, FRANKEN: SENATE CONFIRMS WILHELMINA WRIGHT AS FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: Currently serving on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Justice Wright has over 25 years of legal experience and has served at all levels in the Minnesota courts; Senate only confirmed 10 District Court Judges in 2015, making this confirmation a major bipartisan victory
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/19/16
“The confirmation of Mimi Wright to be Federal District Court Judge is a major victory for Minnesota,” Klobuchar said. “She is a dedicated public servant with a distinguished career spanning all levels of the state and federal legal system. I fought hard for her confirmation, and I have no doubt she will serve Minnesota well. While many judicial nominees are languishing in the Senate, she has made it through the confirmation gauntlet. That is a tribute to her and those who supported her. I thank the Democratic and Republican Senators that voted for her after examining her record and seeing her strength and fairness during the hearing." “In her many years of public service, Mimi Wright has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the fair and just application of the law,” Franken said. “That’s why I’m so pleased both Republicans and Democrats were able to come together and confirm her as Federal District Court Judge for Minnesota. Over the past year, Senator Klobuchar and I have worked hard on Justice Wright’s nomination, and now that she’s confirmed, I’m confident she will do a great job in her new role. This is an important day for Minnesota and for our justice system.”

After Speech from Sen. Franken, Senate Confirms Mimi Wright as Federal Judge for Minnesota
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/19/16
In a speech delivered on the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) urged his colleagues to confirm Wilhelmina "Mimi" Wright as Federal District Court Judge for Minnesota. Following Sen. Franken's speech, Justice Wright was confirmed, making her the first African American woman to serve as federal judge in Minnesota. You can download video of his speech here.

Sen. Klobuchar Floor Statement [Wright district court nomination]
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/19/16
"The U.S. Judicial Conference has deemed the current vacancy in our State to be a judicial emergency. Our district caseload has increased significantly in recent years. In 2014, the district saw a 57-percent jump in case filings, with nearly 6,000 Federal cases currently pending. Judge Davis assumed senior status last August, vacating the position for which she has been nominated. Failing to fill this judicial vacancy is failing the people of Minnesota....As Senator Coleman, a former Senator from the State of Minnesota, a Republican Senator, said: ``I fully support her nomination and have communicated that to my former colleagues.''"

Sen. Franken Floor Statement [Wright district court nomination]
(Democrat - Minnesota) 01/19/16
"Justice Wright's nomination has been pending for 279 days--more than 9 months. The seat she has been nominated to fill has been declared a judicial emergency. So I am pleased the Senate is moving to confirm Justice Wright and that Minnesotans seeking justice will soon be able to have their day in court. Justice Wright is, without question, the best candidate for this position. Not only did she earn a stellar reputation as a Federal prosecutor in Minnesota, but Justice Wright is the only person in our State's history to serve as a judge at all three levels of Minnesota's judiciary. In her 15 years on the bench, Justice Wright has heard more than 2,000 cases, and none of her rulings in those cases raised concern during her hearing, which is why her nomination was approved without objection by the Judiciary Committee in September."

Sen. Ron Johnson Responds to Judicial Nomination of Donald K. Schott
(Republican - Wisconsin) 01/12/16
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) responded Tuesday to news of the nomination of Donald Karl Schott of Madison to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit. Johnson said this: "While I remain disappointed that the process that resulted in the successful confirmation of two district court's judges was short-circuited in the case of Mr. Schott's nomination, I will review this appointment thoroughly and fairly. Until a candidate is nominated by the White House, his background check by the FBI is not made available to senators. Now that Mr. Schott has been nominated, I plan to review his file and conduct other appropriate vetting before making any determinations."

Sen. Coats Responds to President’s Nominations for Indiana Judicial Vacancies
(Republican - Indiana) 01/12/16
Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today announced that he will support the nomination of Winfield Denton Ong in order to address the pressing judicial emergency in 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 this important role needs to be filled quickly,” said Coats. “The role demands a sharp legal mind and a thoughtful, fair temperament. After carefully reviewing Winfield Ong’s record and background and meeting with him personally, I believe he is qualified for this position.” ... In addition to nominating Ong, the White House also announced the nomination of Myra Selby for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Coats reiterated his call for the establishment of an Indiana Federal Nominating Commission to make recommendations on this and other judicial vacancies affecting the Hoosier state. Senator Coats originally called for the creation of a judicial selection commission last May. “The citizens of Indiana will be best served by a nomination process that is taken completely out of politics,” said Coats. “We still have time to establish an equitable process for the remainder of this Congress. Myra Selby’s nomination should be considered by an Indiana Federal Nominating Commission.”

Sen. Toomey Floor Statement [on Judge Restrepo and other Judicial Nominees and Vacancies]
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 01/11/16
"Senator Casey and I have been working very closely for 5 years now, since I joined the Senate, working to fill the vacancies that occur on the Federal bench across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that we represent. With Judge Restrepo's confirmation tonight, which I am hopeful and confident will occur, Senator Casey and I will have been able to play a role in filling 16 vacancies on the Federal bench, including 14 district court vacancies that have occurred since the time I arrived in Senate and two Third Circuit court vacancies....Because we have worked closely together, not only have we filled these vacancies, but we have filled courthouses--Federal courthouses meant to house Federal judges--that have been vacant for years.... I think, and I hope, we are close to filling an empty courthouse in Erie, PA. Erie is kind of by itself out there in the northwest corner of our great State, and there ought to be Federal judge in the Erie courthouse. We are well in the process of making sure that there will be, and I am sure it will come to a close soon."

POLITICO quotes Sen. Cornyn on judicial nominees
(Republican - Texas) 01/11/16
Beyond the four already slated for votes, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the nominee pipeline isn’t quite entirely closed. “There is a point at which, traditionally, no additional judicial nominees are considered until the election,” Cornyn said. “There’s no formal rule or plan to my knowledge” to begin a cutoff now.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/11/16
"Today, we will vote on the long-overdue confirmation of Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania. Judge Restrepo was nominated nearly 14 months ago and his nomination has been pending on the floor since last July after the Judiciary Committee voted out his nomination by voice vote. ...In all of 2015, Senate Republicans allowed confirmation votes on only 11 judicial nominees. This matched the record for confirming the fewest number of judicial nominees in more than half a century. In clear contrast, when Senate Democrats were in the majority during the seventh year of the Bush presidency, we confirmed 40 judges that year – more than triple the number of judges Republicans allowed votes on after gaining the majority last year. Republicans also left town at the end of last year with 19 judicial nominees still pending on the floor, including Judge Restrepo. Each of the nominees has the support of their home state Senators and their nominations were reported out of the Judiciary Committee by voice vote. These are the kind of noncontroversial judicial nominees that the Senate has traditionally confirmed at the end of a session. ... When Senate Republicans took over the majority in January of last year, there were 43 judicial vacancies. After a year of Republicans neglecting judicial confirmations, vacancies have dramatically increased to 72 – an increase of more than 60 percent. Furthermore, the number of judicial vacancies deemed to be “emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts because caseloads in those courts are unmanageably high has nearly tripled under Republican Senate leadership – from 12 when Republicans took over last year to 33 today."

Sen. Casey Floor Statement [on Judge Restrepo nomination]
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 01/11/16
"This is a great American story. An individual came to this country from Colombia and, through hard work and the benefit of a great education, has risen to the point of being a member of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Upon a positive confirmation vote, he will be a member of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the second highest Federal court in the land, just below the Supreme Court."