Republican Senators from 14 States Urge Immediate Action to Fill Their Judicial Vacancies (CO, ID, IN, KS, NE, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI) (May 4, 2016)
(Republican - Colorado, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin)
Sens. Portman, Brown Request Applications for U.S. District Judgeship Vacancy in Ohios Southern District
(Republican - Ohio)
Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today began accepting applications to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The Honorable Gregory L. Frost retired from his position yesterday, creating the vacancy. ... “We wish Judge Frost well in his retirement, and thank him for his years of public service,” said Portman. “The commission will weigh the best candidates and give Ohioans an opportunity to have input on the selection.”... In the interest of identifying the best possible judicial candidates for Ohio's federal bench, Portman and Brown are working to establish a bipartisan judicial advisory commission. Members of the commission will be chosen by both senators to review applications and recommend candidates for this vacancy.
Sens. Brown, Portman Request Applications for U.S. District Judgeship Vacancy in Ohio’s Southern District
(Democrat - Ohio)
Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today began accepting applications to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The Honorable Gregory L. Frost retired from his position yesterday, creating the vacancy. ... "I thank Judge Frost for his many years of dedicated and thoughtful service,” said Brown. "I know the commission is devoted to finding the best possible candidates to continue his important work."... In the interest of identifying the best possible judicial candidates for Ohio's federal bench, Portman and Brown are working to establish a bipartisan judicial advisory commission. Members of the commission will be chosen by both senators to review applications and recommend candidates for this vacancy.
Senator Burr Statement on the White House’s Nomination for the Eastern District Judge
(Republican - North Carolina)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) made the following statement on the announcement that the President nominated Patricia Timmons-Goodson to serve on the Eastern District Court of North Carolina:
“Several years ago, when this seat first became vacant, I worked with former Senator Kay Hagan, other interested members of Congress, and the President to fill the vacancy in the Eastern District. After the agreement had been made, the President declined to honor it. I remain disappointed that the President broke our agreement. I’m even more disappointed that the White House has chosen to double down by making a brazenly political nomination, and without consulting either of North Carolina’s Senators. This is particularly discouraging considering my long history of working with and supporting President Obama’s nominations in North Carolina. I supported, and in some cases even recommended for consideration, the President’s nominations of Judge Loretta Biggs, Judge Catherine Eagles, Judge James Wynn, Judge Max Cogburn and Judge Albert Diaz. I have always worked in good faith with the White House on North Carolina nominees, and expect the same respect in return. It is regrettable that the White House has chosen a different path. This transparent attempt to turn the Eastern District vacancy into an election season stunt is unacceptable, and I will not support a new nomination in North Carolina from this Administration.”
Sen. Bennet: President Nominates Regina Rodriguez to Serve on Colorado District Court; Bennet, Gardner Both Recommended Rodriguez Following Open, Competitive Review Process
(Democrat - Colorado)
"Regina Rodriguez will bring her impressive background in both the public and private sectors to the federal bench," Bennet said. "I've had the opportunity to meet with her, and I'm confident she has the integrity and intellect to serve Colorado. Given the emergency nature this vacancy has created for the District of Colorado, the Senate Judiciary Committee must move quickly and thoroughly to consider her nomination so a vote can be held by the full Senate." The Senate has only confirmed 17 judicial nominations since the beginning of the 114th Congress, while 20 more await Senate action. There are currently 79 judicial vacancies around the country, including 28 that have been deemed judicial emergencies. The District of Colorado became a judicial emergency when Judge Blackburn took senior status.
Sen. Grassley on 7th Circuit nominee Donald Schott
(Republican - Iowa)
Interviewed briefly in a Capitol hallway this week, Judiciary Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley said he thought Schott would get a hearing this year. But asked whether that would lead to a floor vote on his nomination, Grassley said, "It depends on when the Thurmond-Leahy rule kicks in."
President Obama Nominates Two Norton Recommendations for U.S. District Court Judges
(Democrat - District of Columbia)
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today called Todd Edelman and Florence Pan to inform them that President Obama would nominate them to become judges on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, as recommended by Norton. Edelman and Pan both currently serve as Associate Judges on the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
“Todd Edelman and Florence Pan bring the kind of professional experience, academic credentials, and leadership qualities that will enable them to be outstanding judges on our district court,” Norton said. “I look forward to working with my friends in the Senate to have their nominations expeditiously confirmed in committee and on the Senate floor.” ... President Obama, like President Clinton, granted Norton senatorial courtesy to recommend candidates for federal district court judges and other important federal law enforcement officials in the District. Norton recommended Edelman and Pan from a number of candidates screened by her Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission ... President Obama has nominated and the Senate has confirmed all ten of Norton’s recommendations for district court judges"
Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont)
"[L]ast week, we had our first judicial nominations hearing since January. ... In addition to Chief Judge Garland, we have seven circuit court nominees waiting for a hearing. Three of these circuit court nominees have both of their blue slips and are ready for a hearing. They should be on the next hearing. We also have 20 judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor who should all be confirmed, but Republican Leadership is refusing to do so. This week, they blocked a request from three Democratic Senators to vote on these nominees, who this Committee reported out by unanimous voice vote. It is our job to ensure that the Federal Judiciary – a co-equal and independent branch – can
perform its function under our Constitution. That is not happening right now. Vacancies have increased from 43 to 79 since Republicans took over the majority. In some states, vacancies have reached such high levels that it is hard to see how individuals can obtain prompt justice. In Texas, for example, there are 10 vacancies. And in Alabama and Pennsylvania, there are six
vacancies. So let us have hearings and vote on these nominees. We should do our job on this Committee and the full Senate needs to do its job on nominees we have already reported."
Sen. Reid Announces Nomination Of Anne Traum To The U.S. District Court For The District of Nevada
(Democrat - Nevada)
Senator Reid recommended Traum to President Obama for this judicial vacancy.
“Anne Traum is a superb lawyer and educator, and she will be an excellent addition to the U.S. District Court of Nevada. From her work at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, to her time at the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Las Vegas, she has consistently proven herself to be a thoughtful and highly regarded jurist. Anne’s dedication to the law and deep commitment to the community is exemplified through her extensive pro bono work and tireless efforts to provide counsel to those who need it. I was pleased to recommend her to President Obama, and I look forward to her confirmation.”
Sen. Gardner Statement on President’s Nomination to Colorado District Court
(Republican - Colorado)
President Obama nominated Regina Rodriguez to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. In August, Gardner announced a Judicial Evaluation Committee tasked with making recommendations to fill the Colorado judgeship, and in November, the Committee unanimously recommended four highly qualified legal professionals, including Rodriguez. In February, Gardner joined Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) in submitting recommendations to fill the impending vacancy to the White House. Rodriguez was one of the recommendations put forward by Sen. Gardner's Judicial Vacancy Committee.
“Regina Rodriguez is one of Denver’s best litigators, and has served Colorado well,” said Gardner. “Her experience is a testament to her qualifications to serve on the federal bench, and the opportunity to meet with her provided me further confirmation of that. I applaud the progress made to fill the vacancy and look forward to working toward Regina’s confirmation.”
Sen. Bill Nelson on Three Florida District Court Nominees
(Democrat - Florida)
President Obama today nominated three people for District Court positions in Florida. “There is a judicial emergency in the Middle District of Florida right now,” Sen. Bill Nelson said. “Sen. Rubio and I have conferred on these three nominees, and even in this highly-partisan environment, I’m hopeful that we can get them approved quickly.”
Justice Deferred: Cardin Calls for Votes to Clear Backlog of Federal Judges
(Democrat - Maryland)
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (2007-2010), today joined fellow Senate Democrats in making multiple unanimous consent requests to confirm numerous judicial nominees that have been languishing on the executive calendar. The Senate Republican leadership objected to each request.
“While millions of Americans across the Northeast head to the polls to perform their civic duty, Republicans continue to willfully ignore their duties in the Senate. Since taking the majority in the Senate, Republicans have allowed vacancies on federal courts to dramatically rise from 43 to 79. More than a year into this new Congress, the Republican leadership has allowed only 17 judges to be confirmed. By way of comparison, in the last two years of the Bush administration – with a Democratic majority – the Senate confirmed 68 judges, including 28 judges in 2008, prior to the presidential election.” said Senator Cardin.
“Paula Xinis of Maryland is an eminently qualified nominee and is just one of 20 judicial nominees reported unanimously out of committee that are now pending on the Senate executive calendar. Ms. Xinis was nominated more than a year ago by the President, and would fill a seat which has been declared a judicial emergency and has been vacant since October 2014. Justice delayed is justice denied for Marylanders seeking access to the judicial system. We need a fully functioning judiciary in Maryland and across the nation. The President has done his job, and now the Senate needs to do its job under the Constitution.”
Sen. Hirono Fights To Confirm Hawaii’s Clare Connors To Federal Bench: Senate Republicans Block Connors, Other Qualified Judicial Nominees; Republican Obstructionism On Track To Keep Seat On Hawaii’s Federal Bench Vacant For Over A Year
(Democrat - Hawaii)
Senator Mazie K. Hirono today took to the Senate floor to call for unanimous consent to confirm Hawaii’s Clare Connors and other judicial nominees from courts across the country who have been waiting months, and in some cases over a year, for a floor vote. In yet another showing of Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and hold confirmation votes on qualified judicial nominees, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked Senator Hirono’s request. Senator Hirono also called on Senate Republicans to take up the nomination of Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
“While my colleagues and I attempted to fulfill our duties as Senators by voting to fill urgent vacancies on the federal bench, Senate Republicans continue to refuse to do their jobs, which delays justice from our district courts to the Supreme Court,” said Senator Hirono. “Clare Connors was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan basis, but she and other qualified nominees are being kept in limbo by Republican inaction. I call upon my Republican colleagues to enable all of us to do our jobs and begin the advice and consent process, which we are required to do under the Constitution.”
Sen. Schumer: UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--EXECUTIVE CALENDAR
(Democrat - New York)
"[T]he analogy was the last 2 years of the Bush administration when there was a Democratic majority. Then, a Republican President and a Democratic majority; now, a Democratic President and a Republican majority. They confirmed 17 and we confirmed 68. This has consequences--real consequences.
The number of vacancies has risen from 43 to 79 since the Republicans took over the majority. That didn't happen when President Bush was President and made nominations. Twenty-eight judicial emergencies. For people seeking justice--they can't get it very speedily because of the obstruction of judges .
There are 20 noncontroversial judges on the Executive Calendar. We are urging our colleagues to let these noncontroversial judges go through. Very simply, we are urging our colleagues to do their job."
Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Continue Blocking Consensus Judicial Nominees: Only 1 Lower Court Nominee Confirmed In Last 2 Months, 20 More Await Senate Action
(Democrat - Vermont)
On Tuesday, Republicans blocked the confirmation of 11 federal district court nominees—including nominees with Republican support.
“There is no good reason that judicial nominees praised by Republican Senators should be blocked by Republican leadership from receiving a vote on the Senate floor,” Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Tuesday. “This is about ensuring that courts around the country have the judges they need so that justice is not delayed any further. Republican Senators who have judicial nominees from their states awaiting votes should impress upon their leaders the importance of a fully functioning judiciary.”
Nominees from Maryland, New Jersey, Nebraska, Tennessee, New York, California, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania have all been pending on the Senate floor for months. While these nominees all have the support of their home state Senators and were voice voted out of the Judiciary Committee, Republicans refuse to schedule any confirmation votes.... Senate Republicans have allowed just 17 judicial nominees to be confirmed since taking over the majority last year. In sharp contrast, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed 68 judicial nominees in the last two years of President Bush’s tenure.... When Senate Republicans took over the majority in January of last year, there were 43 judicial vacancies. Since then, vacancies have dramatically increased more than 75 percent to 79. The number of judicial vacancies deemed to be “emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has more than doubled under Republican Senate leadership – from 12 when Republicans took over last year to 28 today.
Sen. Boxer Floor Statement: JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS
(Democrat - California)
"I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues continue to play politics with our judicial system.
There are currently 79 judicial vacancies in this country--28 of which are judicial emergency vacancies. In each of these districts across the country, Americans are waiting for their cases to be heard, but instead of justice, they are left hanging in the lurch.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: Justice delayed is justice denied.
Senate Republicans refuse to act to confirm Judge Merrick Garland--who has more Federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court candidate in history--to the Supreme Court, and they refuse to act on the 20 judicial nominees who were reported out of the Judiciary Committee by voice vote. It is outrageous that Senate Republicans stubbornly refuse to move these nominations forward, letting these accomplished and qualified nominees languish.
One of those judges is Mark Young, an excellent nominee for the Central District Court of California, which is ranked 11th in the Nation in weighted case filings per judgeship.
We need to fill this seat as soon as possible ... We also have two additional candidates from California who are awaiting Judiciary Committee hearings.
Judge Paul L. Abrams was nominated by President Obama in December 2015 to serve as the U.S. District Court Judge for the Central District. ... Judge Lucy Koh, currently serving in the Northern District, was nominated by President Obama for the Ninth Circuit Court in February of this year. ... Let's move forward with giving each of these excellent judicial candidates the consideration and vote that they deserve."
TN Sens. quoted after Republicans delay vote on Memphis judicial nominee’s confirmation
(Republican - Tennessee)
After Senate Republicans refused to let Obama's judicial nominees go forward on Tuesday, both Corker and Alexander reiterated their support for Stanton.
"While Senator Corker does not control the floor schedule and which judicial nominees are brought up for confirmation, he remains supportive of Mr. Stanton," Corker's office said. "The senator, who is not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced Mr. Stanton to the committee when it met to consider his nomination last September and has encouraged his colleagues to support his confirmation."
Alexander's office also noted that he told the Judiciary Committee that Tennessee "is fortunate to have such a well-qualified nominee" and that he would vote to confirm Stanton "if Majority Leader McConnell brings him to the floor for a vote."
Republican Senators from 13 States Urge Immediate Action to Fill Their Judicial Vacancies (CO, ID, IN, KS, NE, ND, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI) (April 21, 2016)
(Republican - Colorado, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin)
Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont)
"Today, this Committee is holding its first nominations hearing since January. Since that time, judicial vacancies have risen across the Nation and nominations to fill empty judgeships have piled up in this Committee. In addition to the five judicial nominees on this hearing, there are 27
other judicial nominees that are waiting for a hearing – including Chief Judge Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. ... The nominees awaiting hearings who were not called today include three circuit court nominees whose home state Senators support their nominations. Donald Schott of Wisconsin was nominated to serve on the Seventh Circuit on January 12 to fill the longest vacancy in the Federal Judiciary, which has remained unfilled for more than six years. Senator Baldwin recently wrote a letter to Chairman Grassley urging a hearing for Mr. Schott, and I join her
request. Senator Johnson, the Republican home state Senator, returned his blue slip and supports the Chairman moving forward with this nomination. Given the pressing need to fill the vacancy and the bipartisan support of home state Senators, there is no good reason that Mr. Schott was left off this hearing. In addition to Mr. Schott, we also have the nominations of Jennifer Puhl of
North Dakota to the Eighth Circuit, and Lucy Koh of California to the Ninth Circuit. Both Ms. Puhl and Ms. Koh have the support of their home state Senators, and the Committee should do its job to hold hearings on them. ... one would have to go back more than 60 years to 1953 to find the last Congressional session in which the Senate did not hold hearings for at least one circuit nominee. Notably, the reason the Senate did not hold a circuit court nominations hearing that session is because there was no circuit nominee ... the Chairman has announced that he will stop processing nominees in July. I will note
that I held two nominations hearings for 10 judicial nominees in September 2008, ... When Senate Republicans took over the
majority last year, there were just 43 judicial vacancies, but their obstruction has resulted in an increase in vacancies of more than 75 percent. ... We can reduce the judicial vacancies in those states if Republican leadership would allow timely votes on the 20 pending judicial nominees on the Executive Calendar. All of those nominees were reported out of the Judiciary Committee by voice vote."
Sen. Rubio is not going to return blue slip to allow hearing on judicial nominee he recommended to fill emergency
(Republican - Florida)
"Sen. Marco Rubio continues to block a South Florida judicial nominee he recommended to the White House and has likely killed her chances of being confirmed.
He refuses to say why. ... Rubio through a spokesman declined to explain why he has not submitted a so-called blue slip for Barzee Flores, whom Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson jointly recommended for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District.
"I have spoken with Rubio and he said he's not going to return the blue slip," Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times.
In December, Rubio's office said he was waiting for a Judiciary Committee review of Barzee Flores, a respected Miami lawyer. That review has finished ... The spot on the court has been vacant since May 2014 and is considered a judicial emergency, meaning cases are backlogged."
Sens. Hatch, Lee want quick vote on Utah judicial pick
(Republican - Utah)
Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch lauded a Utah judicial nominee on Wednesday and called for a quick vote to confirm Ronald G. Russell ... Lee and Hatch both support Russell, whom President Barack Obama nominated in December, and said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday that he would be an excellent judge on the U.S. District Court for Utah.
"In Ron Russell, I found not only a man with an outstanding resume, but also an upstanding servant of his community," Hatch said. "As such, I was honored to recommend Ron for appointment, and now I urge my colleagues to approve Ron's nomination promptly."... "This is a good day for the state of Utah and a good day for the federal judiciary," Lee said.
Sen. Cardin Introduces Marylander, U.S. District Court Nominee to Senate Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Maryland)
Today’s nomination hearing was only the second held by the Republican-controlled senate in 2016; the previous lower court judge to be given a vote was in February. In the last two years of the Bush Administration, with a Democratic majority, the Senate confirmed 68 judges, including 28 judges in the 2008 election year. More than a year into the current Congress, the Republican leadership has allowed only 16 judges to be confirmed. Last year, Senate Republicans matched the record for confirming the fewest number of judicial nominees in more than half a century, with only 11 for the entire year.
Sen. Inhofe Statement for the Nomination Hearing of Mitchell, Palk to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
(Republican - Oklahoma)
"Chairman Lee, thank you for the opportunity to introduce my support for the two nominees from my home state of Oklahoma. Both Judge Suzanne Mitchell and Scott Palk have been nominated to fill vacancies on the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.... Judge Mitchell is very qualified for the position of U.S. District Judge.
Her experience with all aspects of the courtroom provides her with the unique perspective and skill set to be an impartial judge that upholds the rule of law. ... I have no doubt she will continue to serve Oklahoma and our nation with honor.... Former Senator and current Oklahoma University President, David Boren praised Mr. Palk by saying he’d “make an excellent judge” who would be “balanced and fair in his approach” and has “an excellent reputation for complete honesty and integrity.” I think we can all agree that these are the characteristics that will serve the Western District of Oklahoma and our nation well.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to introduce these two great Oklahomans and voice my support for their nominations."
Senator Lankford Supports Oklahomans for US District Court
(Republican - Oklahoma)
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of two nominees for the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Judge Suzanne Mitchell and Scott Palk.
“Suzanne’s and Scott’s background and work in Oklahoma make them uniquely qualified to serve our state as federal judges,” said Lankford. “I believe they are devoted to public service and will uphold both the rule of law and integrity of the court. I ask my Senate colleagues to confirm their nominations.”
Since January 2015, Lankford worked to fill the two vacancies on the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. On June 5, 2015, Lankford jointly submitted with Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) Palk and Mitchell to the White House for consideration and they were officially nominated by the President on December 16, 2015.
Sen. Hatch Introduces Utah District Court Nominee Ronald Russell in Judiciary Committee
(Republican - Utah)
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to consider nominations for lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary. Senator Orrin Hatch, the former chairman and longest-serving current member of the Committee, introduced Ronald G. Russell, the nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.
“I have participated in the appointment of nearly three-quarters of the judges who have served on Utah’s federal district court,” Hatch said. “When selecting a candidate to recommend for nomination, I consider not only the individual’s credentials that can be put on paper, but also his reputation and the impressions I draw from extensive interviews. In Ron Russell, I found not only a man with an outstanding resume, but also an upstanding servant of his community. As such, I was honored to recommend Ron for appointment, and now I urge my colleagues to approve Ron’s nomination promptly.”
Sen. Lankford thinks two Oklahoma district court nominees will be confirmed by the full Senate this year.
(Republican - Oklahoma)
Backed by both Oklahoma senators, Suzanne Mitchell and Scott Palk sailed through a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on their nominations to be federal judges for the western half of the state.... Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, who introduced Mitchell and Palk to the committee on Wednesday, said later that he thinks the two will be advanced by the committee and confirmed by the full Senate this year.
SENS. MIKULSKI, CARDIN INTRODUCE U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR DISTRICT OF MARYLAND NOMINEE STEPHANIE GALLAGHER AT SENATE JUDICIAL HEARING: Senators recommended Stephanie Gallagher for federal bench to President Obama
(Democrat - Maryland)
“I was proud to recommend Judge Gallagher to President Obama and am so pleased that she has been nominated to the United States District Court of Maryland,” Senator Mikulski said. “When I consider nominees for the federal bench, I have four criteria: absolute integrity, judicial competence and temperament, a commitment to core constitutional principles, and a history of civic engagement in Maryland. Judge Gallagher not only meets these standards, she exceeds them. Maryland deserves to have highly qualified judges who will uphold the law to provide equal justice for all, and we have that in Judge Gallagher.”
“Judge Gallagher’s strong roots in the Maryland legal community and tremendous understanding and respect for the rule of law make her an exceptional nominee. I was pleased to recommend Judge Gallagher’s nomination to the President along with Senator Mikulski, and I am confident that she will serve the people of Maryland well once confirmed as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Maryland,” said Senator Cardin.