Skip Navigation
Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Defenders of Wildlife

Senator Statements


Senator's Party
Senator's State
Items 1 - 30 of 1433  12345678910Next

Sen. Moran disappointed district court nominee Terrence Campbell was not able to be confirmed before the election.
(Republican - Kansas) 12/07/16
A Lawrence attorney nominated to the federal bench in Kansas nearly a year ago is withdrawing his name from consideration. Terrence J. Campbell made public on Wednesday letters he sent to President Barack Obama and to Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran. He cites the short time remaining for Congress to complete its business and the results of the recent election, saying it is apparent he will not be able to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Moran says he is disappointed Campbell was not able to be confirmed before the election.

Sens. Crapo and Risch on ID federal district court nominee and need for another judgeship
(Republican - Idaho) 12/07/16
With Congress nearing adjournment for the year, Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho have had no luck in getting the GOP-controlled Senate to confirm David Nye, a Pocatello judge nominated in April by President Barack Obama. As a result, both senators are hoping that the president-elect will renominate Nye for the position in 2017.... Even if Nye is approved next year, Risch and Crapo say that Idaho still needs a third federal judge to handle the state’s growing caseload. ... Risch and Crapo both issued statements through their press aides, saying they’d work with Trump next year to try to get Nye renominated and confirmed as quickly as possible.

Sen. Heitkamp will continue pushing for Jennifer Klemtsrud Puhl confirmation to 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
(Democrat - North Dakota) 11/30/16
Puhl has the support of Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., both of whom introduced her when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June. In that hearing, Puhl found a friendly reception and her nomination was sent to the Senate floor on a voice vote with no dissents.... In a statement, Heitkamp said she would continue to press for Puhl's confirmation, in this session and the one starting next year. "The judicial seat on the 8th Circuit has been vacant for an astonishing almost 600 days—preventing the judicial system from fully functioning and unnecessarily delaying the due process of American citizens throughout our region—including North Dakotans," she said. "It's long past time for the U.S. Senate to consider and approve Jennifer's nomination."

Sen. Hoeven spokesman on Jennifer Klemtsrud Puhl 8th Circuit Court of Appeals nomination
(Republican - North Dakota) 11/30/16
Puhl has the support of Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., both of whom introduced her when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June. In that hearing, Puhl found a friendly reception and her nomination was sent to the Senate floor on a voice vote with no dissents. Despite her bipartisan support, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate majority leader, told Hoeven after the Thanksgiving break that no Obama judicial or executive nominees will move forward in the waning days of the lame duck Congress, said Don Canton, Hoeven's spokesman. But when Donald Trump takes over as president and the new Congress convenes in January, Hoeven will again submit Puhl's name—among others—as a potential nominee for the 8th Circuit judicial vacancy, Canton said. North Dakota's seat on the appeals court was vacated by Kermit Bye, who last year took senior status at age 77 and retired Sept 1. "We'll certainly advance Jennifer's name and support her next year, but we'll also have to forward several other names, too," he said.

Sens. Feinstein & Boxer on need for 2016 confirmation of Judge Lucy Koh to Ninth Circuit
(Democrat - California) 11/23/16
“With the 9th Circuit facing a judicial emergency, it’s critical that the Senate act on this vacancy,” Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said in a statement Tuesday, calling Koh a “supremely qualified nominee.” Boxer’s California colleague, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will play an even more significant role in vetting Trump’s judicial nominees through her newly acquired position as senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Like Boxer, she still holds out hope for Koh. “My staff is working to ensure Judge Koh is included in any end-of-year package of judges, and I look forward to seeing Judge Koh confirmed as soon as possible,” Feinstein said Wednesday.

Sen. Schumer on need for lame duck Senate vote on Kathleen Sweet district court nomination
(Democrat - New York) 11/19/16
President Obama recommended Sweet, a well-known civil attorney and former Erie County Bar Association president, for appointment in March, and she made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee unopposed. But, since then, her nomination has languished.... "To start the process all over again would simply be unfair to all those seeking speedy justice in Buffalo and Western New York,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer said in a statement. "Now is the time for the Senate to do its job and promptly approve Ms. Sweet because the backlog in caseload needs to be addressed right away." ... In Schumer, Sweet has a supporter who, because of his new leadership position, may have the clout to overcome potential Republican opposition. "When it comes to Kathleen Sweet, the verdict is clear," he said. "She has exceptional experience, an incisive legal mind, a tremendous resume, and the temperament needed to fill the U.S. Court seat in the Western District of New York, which has been vacant for too long."

Idaho Senators ponder how much to do in lame-duck session, with Nye nomination at the ready
(Republican - Idaho) 11/16/16
“Sen. Risch and I both want very much to see this resolved this year in the lame duck, and that is what he and I are going to aggressively continue working for,” Crapo said. At this point, Crapo said, senators want assurance from their leaders and the incoming Trump Administration about the overall approach. “One thing that could cause trouble in the Senate is if we were able to get, say, just some of the nominees,” Crapo said. Nye is No. 18 on the list of 20 federal district court nominees and three federal circuit court nominees awaiting final votes; all have been cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but not all won unanimous approval as Nye did. “If we start moving only the ones that are unanimous, and then others don’t move, then the senators from the states that nominees don’t move may cause trouble,” Crapo said. “So it’s never simple.” All 20 of the district court nominees won unanimous approval, as did one of the three circuit court nominees, but the other two circuit nominees had split committee votes. “Sen. Risch and I are currently working very hard to see if there is a pathway to move still in the lame duck,” Crapo said.... Crapo said the answer on whether Nye’s nomination will come up for a vote soon likely won’t come today, and “maybe not even next week.”

Sens. Crapo, Risch standing by Judge Nye nomination, hoping for Senate vote soon
(Republican - Idaho) 11/14/16
“Nye is still in play through the lame-duck,” said Lindsay Nothern, spokesman for Crapo. He noted that Nye already has won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We’re that far, so hopefully we can get a vote,” Nothern said. “The hope would be that we can get it through on unanimous consent.”... John Sandy, chief of staff for Risch, said, “It’s imperative to Idaho that we get this other judge.” He said Risch remains committed to pushing for a full Senate vote on Nye during the lame-duck session, and if that doesn’t work, pursuing it in 2017. Layne Bangerter, Idaho director for the Trump for President campaign and a member of the Trump transition team, said he wouldn’t predict any change in the Idaho nominee choice even after Trump takes office. “I think that’s a solid process that they have gone through, and that Donald Trump would support that,” he said.

Sen. Leahy Comments On The Alarming Calls By Some Republicans For Permanent Obstruction Of Judicial Nominees, Incl. SCOTUS
(Democrat - Vermont) 10/27/16
“Eight months ago Republican senators attempted to justify their unprecedented obstruction of a Supreme Court nominee by claiming that the American people needed to be heard through the election. Now that we are on the eve of that democratic moment, some at last are making clear that this justification was simply a political farce. .... These Republicans are proving that they have no intention of doing their jobs and that their blockade of judicial nominees is purely driven by politics. “This amounts to piecemeal evisceration of the Constitution. I hope that reasonable Republicans will repudiate these calls for wholesale and enduring obstruction and get back to work to address skyrocketing judicial vacancies. Americans should not accept a Senate that has done almost nothing to address the vacancy crisis in courts throughout our country. Senators should honor their oaths of office and keep their word to the American people.”

(Democrat - Minnesota) 10/27/16
Senator Klobuchar said: “This group of distinguished Minnesota leaders will help us identify jurists who will continue Minnesota’s long tradition of federal judges with broad experience and an unwavering commitment to the fair and just application of the law. “Federal judges have lifetime appointments, which is why it is critical that they are even-handed, fair-minded, and dedicated to equal justice under law. In addition to these important traits, the Committee will look for a person of integrity with a first-rate legal mind and a breadth of professional experience." ... Senator Franken said: “The Senate has an important role to play in filling judicial vacancies, and I take that role very seriously.... but I’m confident that the Selection Committee we are announcing today will find well-qualified Minnesotans who will apply the law fairly and equally for all. I’m looking forward to reviewing the Committee’s work and recommending nominees to the President who will serve the people of our state with honor and distinction.”

Sen. Risch on filling Idaho federal court vacancy
(Republican - Idaho) 10/03/16
Sen. Jim Risch says he’s still optimistic that the vacancy will be filled this year. “We are pressing to get to the goal line, to get this judge approved,” Risch, R-Idaho, said Monday. “It’s just the process up there is such that it takes a long time. It is deeply, deeply involved in politics. . . . He’s in the queue.”... Risch is hoping for a vote before the Senate adjourns for good this year. “We think we have a path forward,” he said. “We are cautiously optimistic.”

Sen. Cornyn on five Texas federal district court nominees
(Republican - Texas) 10/03/16
Just two weeks ago, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on five Texas judges. They were tapped by Obama to fill half of the vacancies in the sprawling red state. The state’s Republican senators are advocating their speedy approval by the full Senate. “We’ll try to make the case that that should happen in the lame duck session,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told The Daily Beast. “We’d like to do it now, but there’s probably not enough time to get it done.”

Sen. Durbin on pending judicial nominees
(Democrat - Illinois) 10/03/16
But isn’t it hypocritical for Republicans to tee up their favorite son judges to fill local benches while keeping a seat on the Supreme Court empty? “Of course it is,” Sen. Dick Durbin told The Daily Beast. “Here it is, the Supreme Court of the United States, which is already having problems because of a four to four tie, they won’t fill that vacancy and now they’re talking about other federal court judges?” “I’ll take what we can get in terms of filling these spots on the bench, because a third of the vacant seats are emergencies that should be filled,” Durbin said. “But it’s not fair to Merrick Garland, and it’s totally inconsistent with the history of the Senate.”

Sen. Cruz on five Texas federal district court nominees and Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland
(Republican - Texas) 10/03/16
Just two weeks ago, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on five Texas judges. They were tapped by Obama to fill half of the vacancies in the sprawling red state. The state’s Republican senators are advocating their speedy approval by the full Senate.... While the Texans are pushing their home state nominees, they’re opposed to holding hearings on Garland or anyone else the president might have picked to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. “Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley have rightly held the line,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told The Daily Beast. He says there’s no comparing district court judges and the ninth seat on the highest court in the land, in part because the nominating process is drastically different. “We have a federal judiciary advisory committee that consists of respected attorney’s from across the state—geographically diverse, politically diverse, bipartisan—that interviews potential judicial candidates and ensures that nominees have the qualifications and experience and temperament to do the important jobs for which they’re being considered, and each of these five nominees made it through this vigorous process,” Cruz said.

Sen. Booker Floor Statement: Nomination of Merrick Garland [and other judicial nominees]
(Democrat - New Jersey) 09/27/16
[Page S6115] "It has been 7 months since Chief Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court, and it is still pending. It has been about 19 months since Judge Julien Neals was nominated to the District Court of New Jersey, and it is still on hold. As was the case in the last two times I have come to the floor to speak, our country is not only operating with an incomplete Supreme Court, but it is also operating with a judicial vacancy crisis across the Nation in multiple Federal courts.... I noted that we faced 90 judicial vacancies in our courts across the country, 35 of which have been deemed judicial emergencies.... There are 30 nominations currently pending on the Senate Executive Calendar, and all but two were voted out of committee by unanimous vote. That includes 20 district court nominees. Both Republicans and Democrats in this body gave a unanimous vote in the Judiciary Committee. The nominations pending on the Executive Calendar are from States all across the country, from east to west. These places include New Jersey, New York, California, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Utah, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Idaho.... I ... ask that we push this bipartisan package of well-qualified nominees that includes two people who are next on the list, Ed Stanton and Julien Neals, the two longest waiting judicial nominees from Tennessee and New Jersey, as well as nominees from New York, California, Rhode Island, and two nominees from Pennsylvania, again supported in a bipartisan fashion in the Judiciary Committee.... I know this body is better than a tit-for-tat process, where we measure how many nominees President Bush got versus President Obama. This was not the intention of the Constitution, not the intention of our Framers, and it is not something that has been the tradition of our country. I know the good the Senate can do for Americans across the country. Part of our obligation is to ensure a functioning judicial system that can deliver justice for America. This Senate is failing to uphold its duty now and has plunged our Nation into a level of judicial crisis that is unacceptable. We can and we must do better."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement: Nomination of Merrick Garland [and other judicial nominees]
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/27/16
"Eleven years ago this week, ... the Senate confirmed John Roberts to the Supreme Court ... . He had his Judiciary Committee hearing in September and ... was confirmed about two weeks later, September 29. ... By the standards the Democrats gave to Republicans, Chief Judge Garland should have been confirmed by Memorial Day. We have had more than 6 months to examine his record. It is not as though the Senate has been consumed and overworked considering other nominees; the last time we confirmed any judicial nominee was on July 6. Republicans refuse to allow votes even on uncontroversial district court nominees who have been pending more than a year, even those supported by Republicans in their States, and our independent Federal judiciary is suffering as a result of this unprecedented obstruction, as a result of the Senate not doing its job. It is long time past for the Senate to do its job."

Sen. Leahy Statement On the Supreme Court Nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/27/16
"Yet unlike Chief Justice Roberts, who was confirmed in about two months, Chief Judge Garland has been pending before the Senate for more than six months. That is longer than any Supreme Court nominee in history. No hearing. No vote. No consideration at all by the Senate."

Sen. Blumenthal: Senate Democrats: No Vote on Garland Nomination, No Recess
(Democrat - Connecticut) 09/27/16
“Congress has no excuse for leaving town without meeting its Constitutional obligation: filling a Supreme Court vacancy. This dereliction of duty is fundamentally damaging to our democracy and Members of Congress should be held accountable,” Blumenthal said. “Chief Judge Garland should have been confirmed by now. We have already had more than six months to examine the nominee’s record, and it is not as if the Senate has been consumed with considering other nominees. The last time we confirmed a judicial nominee was on July 6th, yet despite our efforts to make progress in filling vacancies, Republicans refuse to act. They have ignored their own calls for regular order and our independent Federal judiciary is suffering as a result,” Leahy said. “It should not require a resolution to keep us accountable to the oath we all swore to uphold the Constitution, but this is where Senate Republicans have led us. It is long past time for the Senate to do its job."

Sen. Durbin Floor Statement [Merrick Garland and other judicial nominees and vacancies]
(Democrat - Illinois) 09/27/16
"When George W. Bush was in his last term in office and the Democrats were in control, we approved 68 judges in that last Congress--in his ``lameduck'' Congress. So far this Congress Senator McConnell has allowed only 22 judges to come through the Senate, and 30 of them are sitting on the calendar. By the tradition of the Senate, where the Senate fills the vacancies when they need to be filled, regardless of the President's party or the year of his term--Senator McConnell ignores that. We have 91 Federal judicial vacancies across the United States that need to be filled.... It is the most accurate reflection of the dysfunction of the U.S. Senate I can think of--that the Senate Republican leadership would ignore the Constitution and the traditions of the Senate, leave these poor judicial nominees languishing for up to a year on the calendar, and refuse to meet their constitutional obligation to give Merrick Garland--even though the American Bar Association deemed him as being unanimously ``well qualified''--his time to come before the Senate for an open hearing, answer questions under oath, and receive a vote on the floor of the Senate."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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