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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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."

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."

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. 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. 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. 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.”

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.”

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.

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."

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

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement On the Pending Nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/13/16
"[F]or 2 years, President Obama's five eminently qualified nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims have been awaiting a vote. This court ... allows citizens to seek prompt justice against our government. Yet 2 years of obstruction by a single Senator, the junior Senator from Arkansas, has forced the court to operate without one-third of its allotted judges. While these five nominees have been waiting for a vote, another judge retired, leaving the court with only 10 judges for 16 seats, or a vacancy rate of 38 percent. This takes Senate Republican obstruction of judicial nominees to a new level.... I have heard no objections to the qualifications of any of the five nominees to this court. One of these nominees, Armando Bonilla, would be the first Hispanic judge to hold a seat on the Court.... During the Bush administration, the Senate confirmed nine judges to the Court of Federal Claims, with the support of every Senate Republican. So far, during the Obama administration, only three Court of Federal Claims nominees have received confirmation votes.... Senate Republicans' obstruction playbook leaves no court behind. It spans from the very top, with their complete refusal to give a hearing and a vote to Chief Judge Merrick Garland, to the article III circuit and district courts, to the article I Court of Federal Claims, where citizens go to sue their government. This blockade of all five CFC nominees makes no sense, especially because not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee raised a concern about these nominees either during the committee hearings on these nominations 2 years ago or during the Committee debate 2 years ago or last year."

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."

Sen. Coons Unanimous Consent Request [to Vote on 5 Court of Federal Claims Nominees]
(Democrat - Delaware) 09/13/16
"[O]n the question of the Court of Federal Claims, today, currently, there are just 10 active judges, although it is authorized to have 16. The five nominees whom I brought to the floor today and have asked unanimous consent to proceed on were first nominated in April or May of 2014 and have waited more than 2 years for their confirmation here by the Senate. No one has raised an objection to their qualifications, and each of them has twice now unanimously been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee without concerns being raised or advanced about either their qualifications or the need to fill these judicial vacancies. With fewer active judges, cases have piled up in the Court of Federal Claims, which is often called ``the people's court'' because of its role in hearing cases brought by citizens and businesses against the Federal Government. From 2012 to 2015, the number of pending general jurisdiction cases per active judge has nearly doubled .... We have received letters from the chief judge of the Court of Federal Claims and the past president of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Bar Association urging our swift action on these nominees. ... Bonilla would be the first Hispanic judge to hold a position on this court and was strongly endorsed by the Hispanic National Bar Association.... I believe it is time we come together in a bipartisan fashion to do our job, confirm these five nominees to these judicial vacancies, and allow them to get to work serving our Nation on the Court of Federal Claims."

Sen. Casey: Stop the Obstruction and Do Your Job
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 09/09/16
"In May, I walked onto the Senate floor and made a motion to confirm all judicial nominees for federal district court seats pending before the full Senate, including two from Pennsylvania. I felt compelled to take action since the pace of judicial confirmations has slowed to a trickle while the number of judicial vacancies has skyrocketed since Republicans took over the majority in 2014. Despite the fact that the Senate has confirmed just 22 judges so far this Congress, compared to the 68 the Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed in the final two years of the Bush administration, and despite the fact that judicial vacancies have increased more than 100 percent in the last two years, the Majority Leader quickly shot down my motion.... Senate Democrats have gone to the floor to make over 20 confirmation motions for district court nominees, including 5 just this week. ... Pennsylvania currently has four pending district court nominees, all distinguished judges nominated with bipartisan support from my colleague Senator Toomey. Two of these nominees, Susan Baxter and Marilyn Horan, passed out of the Judiciary Committee with unanimous support and are now among the 18 district court nominees, all vetted and deemed fit by the Judiciary Committee, awaiting full-Senate confirmation votes. Pennsylvania’s other two excellent district court nominees, John Younge and Robert Colville, have inexplicably been blocked from even getting a committee vote, despite their obvious qualification for the federal bench. There is simply no legitimate reason to block any of these nominees. Unfortunately, the district court is not the only place Senate Republicans are obstructing nominations. It took more than a year for the Senate to confirm the eminently qualified Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to his seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, the Senate again has before it an excellent nominee to that court, Rebecca Haywood, who deserves prompt consideration and a vote. She was nominated almost six months ago, yet Republican leadership has not taken a single step toward considering her nomination."

Sen. Schumer on Judiciary Committee voice vote approval of judicial nominee
(Democrat - New York) 09/08/16
Kathleen M. Sweet, the former Bar Association of Erie County president, has taken another step closer to confirmation as a federal judge in Buffalo, as the Senate Judiciary Committee moved her nomination to the Senate floor by voice vote Thursday.... the Judiciary Committee’s action came as good news to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D- N.Y., who recommended that President Barack Obama nominate her for the post. “Her credentials are exemplary, she’s widely respected in the legal community as a moderate, non-partisan, top-rate attorney, and she is a true Buffalonian,” Schumer said. Noting that the Western District of New York has only one active federal judge in its Buffalo courthouse, Schumer added: “Ms. Sweet is desperately needed on the bench in Buffalo. The WDNY has one of the longest backlogs of civil and criminal cases in the country.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/08/16
"In 2008, in the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency, I convened two judicial nominations hearings during the month of September for a total of ten nominees. And the Senate confirmed all ten of those nominees later that same month, leaving no nominees pending on the floor and reducing the number of judicial vacancies to 34. With the number of vacancies currently at 90, now is not the time to shut down the confirmation process. The Committee should hold another nominations hearing this month and the Senate should vote on all the pending judicial nominations on the Senate floor as well as the nominees receiving hearings this month. There are seven lower court nominees who have the support of their home state Senators who are ready for a hearing. These include three nominees for the Western District of Washington, a court where 43 percent of the seats are vacant; three nominees to district courts in Florida who have the bipartisan support of their home state Senators; and one nominee to the District of Colorado who has the bipartisan support of her home state Senators. We should also have a hearing for the nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. These are important vacancies that require a second nominations hearing this month. As members of this Committee, our duty to work on judicial nominees does not end with their committee hearing. It is not enough to report these well-qualified nominees out of Committee but then leave them twisting in the wind because of obstruction by Senate Republicans. The 27 judicial nominees on the Executive Calendar, and the additional one I expect we will report out today, all have bipartisan support. They deserve a vote without further delay,"

Sen. Durbin Floor Statement on 27 pending judicial nominees and Nomination of Merrick Garland
(Democrat - Illinois) 09/08/16
"There are 27 Federal judicial nominees whose nominations are pending before the Senate. One nomination that might be of interest to those who are following this debate is a nomination that goes back to October of 2015 of Edward L. Stanton III, of Tennessee. Now, we know the way the process works is that Mr. Stanton's name would not be on the calendar to be considered by the Senate were it not for the support of both Senators from Tennessee--in this case, both Republican Senators of Tennessee. So we have a nomination to fill a vacancy on a Federal district court of Tennessee that has been approved by both Republican Senators and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October of last year--almost 1 year ago.... he ran into a concerted, deliberate plan by Senate Republicans to stop filling judicial vacancies under President Barack Obama. There are 26 like him who have been reported from the committee .... Unfortunately, it means that for each of these nominees--starting with Mr. Stanton, 1 year ago--their lives are going to be on hold.... we are now up to 90 vacancies across the United States--a third of them are in emergency situations, which means that the courts cannot properly function because of the vacancies on the Federal bench. Despite this, the Senate Republicans refuse, being in control of the Senate, to call these names for consideration. They know they will pass. They are not controversial. They went through the committee, and they languish on the calendar because of this political decision."

(Democrat - Montana) 09/08/16
Following one of the longest Congressional recesses in recent history, Senator Jon Tester is holding himself and Congress accountable by sponsoring legislation to eliminate automatic pay raises for members of Congress. "In Montana, folks don't receive a raise if they aren't doing the job they were hired to do and Congress should play by those same rules," Tester said. "Folks in Congress must hold themselves accountable to the families they represent, and until Congress begins to reduce wasteful spending, cut red tape for small businesses, take care of our veterans, and fill judicial vacancies-nobody in Washington deserves a pay raise."

(Republican - Texas) 09/08/16
“As many of the people in this hearing know, Sen. Cornyn and I four years ago created a bipartisan federal judicial advisory committee consisting of esteemed members of the Bar throughout the State of Texas,” Sen. Cruz said in his opening statement. “It is bipartisan. It includes leaders in every region of the state to make recommendations on judicial appointments, and each of the five nominees who is sitting before us is a product of that process. “Each of you has been through vigorous interviews, has been through the scrutiny of your colleagues and the scrutiny of your peers. It is designed to be an exacting process, but it is also designed to be a process that helps the cream rise to the top and helps produce nominees who will be the very best at what they do at the bench, who will be learned in the law, who will be faithful to the law and faithful to the Constitution, and who will bring honor to the judiciary and uphold the integrity of our courts. So I congratulate each of the five of you for making it through the process with such flying colors.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/07/16
"The Judiciary Committee today welcomes five judicial nominees to fill emergency vacancies in Texas. One of these seats has been vacant for over three years, so this hearing is long overdue. In all, there are currently 10 district court vacancies in Texas, and another two at the circuit level. Each one of those 12 vacancies has been deemed an emergency. In fact, more than one-third of all judicial emergency vacancies are in Texas. While the national vacancy rate has doubled from 5 percent to 10 percent since Republicans took over the majority last year, the vacancy rate for Federal district courts in Texas is twice as high at an alarming 20 percent.... When I was chairman in the 2008 election year, this Committee held two hearings in September for 10 of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. Several of those nominees had been nominated just two months prior in July 2008. All 10 of those nominees were confirmed in one day that same month. The Committee’s work on circuit and district nominations must not stop today. I hope this Committee will hold second judicial nominations hearing this month, just as I convened two during the month of September in 2008. There are seven nominees with the support of their home state Senators for whom the Committee has received all necessary materials. These seven include three nominees for the Western District of Washington, a court where 43 percent of the seats are vacant; three nominees to district courts in Florida who have the bipartisan support of their home state Senators; and one nominee to the District of Colorado, whose home state Senators, one Democrat and one Republican, have written to the Chairman urging that she be listed on a committee hearing. We should also have a hearing for the nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. There is no good reason to allow any of these vacancies to remain open."

U.S. SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN TAKES TO SENATE FLOOR TO CALL FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT ON SCHOTT NOMINATION TO 7TH CIRCUIT COURT: Today marks 2,435th day of vacancy, the longest-standing federal circuit court vacancy in the country
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 09/07/16
“The American people deserve full and functioning courts, from the Supreme Court to our district courts. This Wisconsin seat on the Seventh Circuit has been vacant longer than any other federal circuit court judgeship, for more than six years. That is unacceptable and I am calling on the Senate to do its job and vote on this nomination,” said Senator Baldwin. “Don Schott has received strong, bipartisan support throughout this nomination process because he has the experience, qualifications and temperament to be an outstanding federal judge. He deserves a Senate vote without further delay and the people of Wisconsin deserve a fully-functioning federal appeals court to ensure the swift and thorough administration of justice.” In June, Schott’s nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with a strong bipartisan vote. Senator Baldwin sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) requesting that he schedule a floor vote on Donald Schott’s nomination. McConnell has not yet scheduled a Senate vote. “The 7th Circuit Court has taken up a number of Wisconsin issues without a Wisconsin seat on the court including women's heath, labor rights, campaign finance, marriage equality and most recently voting rights. These are important issues and the people of Wisconsin deserve better than an empty seat when judgements are made,” said Senator Baldwin.