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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


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Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Leahy Statement at Sept. 15 Hearing on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/15/10
"Several recent newspaper articles have discussed the judicial vacancy crisis that has been created by the Republican strategy of slow-walking the Senate's consideration of noncontroversial nominations. These include many nominees who, when they finally get a vote after waiting months and months and months, get a unanimous vote. These include nominees who have the strong support of Republican home state Senators, yet still have required cloture votes to proceed. These include district court nominations, which are traditionally considered without delays, and they have never been targeted for obstruction by Democrats or Republicans when they have been supported by their home State Senators."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse July 29th Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 07/29/10
"These two were reported out of the Judiciary Committee on January 28, 2010, 6 months ago yesterday. Albert Diaz was voted out 19 to 0. James Wynn was voted out 18 to 1. That means a combined score of 37 to 1 for these two candidates whom the two Senators from North Carolina had agreed on, a Republican Senator and a Democratic Senator. ... Butler is a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice. Ed Chen and Benita Pearson are long-serving and well-respected Federal magistrate judges in San Francisco and Akron, OH. Bill Martinez is a wellknown and well-respected attorney in Colorado. Each nominee had the full support of both of their home State Senators. Each nominee would bring proper expertise, judicial temperament, and great diversity to the bench. Each nominee would be confirmed, if we could simply get them voted on by the Senate. The way these nominees have been treated stands in stark contrast to the way district court nominees were treated in the Bush administration.... otwithstanding the support of Senator REED and myself, the two Senators from Rhode Island, notwithstanding that this is a district court nomination, notwithstanding the powerful support across Rhode Island from those who know Jack McConnell best, special interests from outside the State have interfered in his nomination."

Sen. Mark Udall July 29th Series of Requests for Votes on 20 Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Colorado) 07/29/10
"the number that stands out to me, as I mentioned earlier, is we have 100 judicial vacancies, which the Senator from Alabama acknowledged. Forty-two of those are considered judicial emergencies by the bodies that oversee and monitor the judiciary. The Senate has confirmed 24 nominees so far this year and 36 total since President Obama was elected. Those are historic lows. That is the fewest number of judges confirmed in 50 years."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/12/10
"We are going to proceed today on only 1 of the 22 judicial nominations that have been stalled on the Senate floor by Republican obstruction. This is a nominee we considered and voted out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously 3 months ago without objection. ... We have the Senate Republican leadership refusing to enter into time agreements on pending judicial nominations that have the support from both Democrats and Republicans, including nominations with bipartisan support from North Carolina and Tennessee and South Carolina and California and New York and Delaware and Virginia and Utah, Maryland, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. ... the Senate is dramatically behind the pace I set for President Bush’s judicial nominees in 2001 and 2002."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/28/10
"today the Senate is proceeding on only one of the 23 judicial nominees stalled by Republican obstruction from action by the Senate. The nominee the Senate will confirm tonight has been stalled for more than 10 weeks, even though his nomination was reported without a single objection from the Judiciary Committee on April 15. There are eight other judicial nominees who have been stalled for at least as long, or longer, and nominees who were favorably reported last year, last November, still being obstructed. This confirmation was needlessly delayed for no good purpose."

Sen. Feinstein Floor Speech On Josephine Tucker and Edward Chen Nominations
(Democrat - California) 06/21/10
"The President first nominated Magistrate Judge Edward Chen to serve on the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California over 300 days ago. He has been voted out of committee twice and has been pending on the floor most recently for 137 days without a vote. ... It is long past time for the minority to agree to a time agreement and for the full Senate to have an up-or-down vote on Judge Chen's nomination."

Sen. Feinstein Floor Speech On Lucy Koh and Edward Chen Nominations
(Democrat - California) 06/07/10
"The President first nominated Magistrate Judge Chen on August 6, 2009. That was over 300 days ago....in just 17 months of the Obama administration, not one, not two, not three, but four district court nominees have come out of committee on straight party-line votes. And they are all still pending on the floor....Chen has spent 9 years as a magistrate judge and written over 200 published opinions. There has not been a single objection in committee or on the floor to even one of his decisions. So this is a nominee with a solid and publicly available track record. He has strong bipartisan support in the community he has been nominated to serve. And he has the support of his two home State Senators. It is long past time for an up-or-down vote on his nomination."

SEN. INOUYE FLOOR STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF JUDGE EDWARD CHEN
(Democrat - Hawaii) 05/18/10
Judge Chen has written over 300 published opinions, and what those opinions show is a judge who is committed to the rule of law. He follows case precedent. He checks any personal views at the courthouse door, and rules impartially in each and every case. His decisions reveal a belief in fairness to all. ... Judge Chen has my full support and deserves to be confirmed by the Senate without delay.

Sen. Feinstein Floor Statement on ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
(Democrat - California) 05/03/10
"This past year has also meant many firsts for the Federal bench: two Asian Pacific American nominees, Ed Chen and Lucy Koh, for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where there has never been an Asian Pacific American district judge; the confirmation of the first Chinese American woman to be a district court judge, Dolly Gee; and the confirmation of the first Vietnamese American district court judge, Jacqueline Nguyen. I recommended Magistrate Judge Chen and Judge Nguyen to President Barack Obama, as well as Professor Goodwin Liu for appointment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, confident that their strong legal backgrounds and unique perspective will be valuable additions to the Federal courts."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Obstruction of Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/20/10
"I further call upon Republicans to agree to time agreements on each of the other seven judicial nominees ready for final Senate action. Only one Republican Senator in the Judiciary Committee voted against Judge Wynn of North Carolina; only three voted against Judge Vanaskie of Pennsylvania; only four voted against Ms. Stranch of Tennessee, who is supported by the senior Senator from Tennessee, a Republican and a member of the Senate Republican leadership. Senate Republicans should identify the time they require to debate the nominations of Justice Butler of Wisconsin, Judge Chen of California, Judge Pearson of Ohio, and Judge Martinez of Colorado, who are all well-qualified nominees for district court vacancies, which are typically considered and confirmed without lengthy debate."

Sen. Leahy March 16, 2010 Floor Statement
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/16/10
"The 18 judicial nominees awaiting Senate consideration are: Jane Stranch of Tennessee, nominated to the Sixth Circuit; Judge Thomas Vanaskie of Pennsylvania, nominated to the Third Circuit; Judge Denny Chin of New York, nominated to the Second Circuit; Justice Rogeriee Thompson of Rhode Island, nominated to the First Circuit; Judge James Wynn of North Carolina, nominated to the Fourth Circuit; Judge Albert Diaz of North Carolina, nominated to the Fourth Circuit; Judge Edward Chen, nominated to the Northern District of California; Justice Louis Butler, nominated to the Western District of Wisconsin; Nancy Freudenthal, nominated to the District of Wyoming; Denzil Marshall, nominated to the Eastern District of Arkansas; Benita Pearson, nominated to the Northern District of Ohio; Timothy Black, nominated to the Southern District of Ohio; Gloria M. Navarro, nominated to the District of Nevada; Audrey G. Fleissig, nominated to the Eastern District of Missouri; Lucy H. Koh, nominated to the Northern District of California; Jon E. DeGuilio, nominated to the Northern District of Indiana; Tanya Walton Pratt, nominated to the Southern District of Indiana; and Jane Magnus-Stinson, nominated to the Southern District of Indiana. Twelve of the 18 were reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition; one had a single negative vote. The stalling and obstruction should end and these nominations should be considered by the Senate and voted upon without further delay. "

Sen. Leahy Detailed Floor Statement on Senate Delays of President Obama Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/13/10
"there are 18 judicial nominees that have been reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee— most of them unanimously— who await Senate consideration. That is more nominees than the total of President Obama’s circuit and district court nominees—17—that have been confirmed since he took office. This sorry state of affairs is the result of a Republican strategy to stall, obstruct, and delay that has existed throughout President Obama’s time in office....By this date during President Bush’s first term, the Senate had confirmed 41 Federal circuit and district court nominations.... While Republican Senators stall, judicial vacancies continue to skyrocket. Vacancies have already grown to more than 100, undoing years of our hard work repairing the damage done by Republican pocket filibusters of President Clinton’s judicial nominees. When I chaired the Judiciary Committee during President Bush’s last year in office, we reduced judicial vacancies to as low as 34, even though it was a presidential election year.... Senate Republicans delay and obstruct even nominees chosen after consultation with Republican home State Senators.... In 8 years, the Judiciary Committee reported only a single Bush district court nomination by a partyline vote.... During President Obama’s short time in office, not one, not two, but three district court nominees have been reported on a party-line vote as Senate Republicans look for any reason to oppose every nomination.... There have already been 17 filibusters of President Obama’s nominees. That is the same number of Federal circuit and district nominees the Senate has confirmed during the entirety of the Obama administration. And that comparison does not include the many other nominees who were delayed or who are being denied up-ordown votes by Senate Republicans refusing to agree to time agreements to consider even noncontroversial nominees."

Sen. Leahy Statement at Nominations Hearing
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/10/10
"There have already been 17 filibusters of President Obama's nominees. That is the same number of Federal circuit and district nominees the Senate has confirmed during the entirety of the Obama administration. And that comparison does not include the many other nominees who were delayed or who are being denied up or down votes by Senate Republicans refusing to agree to time agreements to consider even noncontroversial nominees."

Sen. Leahy Mardch 4, 2010 Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/04/10
"Earlier this week we had to overcome Republican objection and a filibuster to obtain a vote on the nomination of Judge Barbara Keenan. She, too, was confirmed unanimously, 99 to zero. Yet Republicans would not agree to schedule a vote on her nomination. She was forced to wait four months after being reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate was required to end the Republican filibuster. ... I, again, urge Senate Republicans to reconsider their strategy and allow prompt consideration of all 18 judicial nominees awaiting Senate consideration."

Sen. Leahy March 2, 2010 Floor Statement
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/02/10
"I further call upon Republicans to agree to time agreements on each of the other six judicial nominees ready for final Senate action. Only one Republican Senator in the Judiciary Committee voted against Judge Wynn of North Carolina; only three voted against Judge Vanaskie of Pennsylvania; only four voted against Ms. Stranch of Tennessee, who is supported by the senior Senator from Tennessee, a Republican and a member of the Senate Republican leadership. Senate Republicans should identify the time they require to debate the nominations of Justice Butler of Wisconsin, Judge Chen of California and Judge Pearson of Ohio, who are all well-qualified nominees for district court vacancies, which are typically considered and confirmed without lengthy debate."

Sen. Leahy: Senate Confirms Keenan To Fourth Circuit
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/02/10
"I, again, urge Senate Republicans to reconsider their strategy and allow prompt consideration of all 14 judicial nominees awaiting Senate consideration"

Sen. Leahy Statement at Feb. 11, 2010 Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/11/10
"I, again, urge Senate Republicans to reconsider their strategy and allow prompt consideration of the other judicial nominees awaiting Senate consideration: Judge Barbara Keenan of Virginia, nominated to the Fourth Circuit; Jane Stranch of Tennessee, nominated to the Sixth Circuit; ... Judge James Wynn of North Carolina, nominated to the Fourth Circuit; Judge Albert Diaz of North Carolina, nominated to the Fourth Circuit; Judge Edward Chen, nominated to the Northern District of California; and Justice Louis Butler, nominated to the Western District of Wisconsin. I note, again, that the judicial nominees from states with Republican Senators are supported by their home state Republican Senators. Senators Alexander and Corker have supported Judge Stranch's nomination from Tennessee to the Sixth Circuit and Senator Burr came to their hearing and testified in favor of Judge Wynn and Judge Diaz of North Carolina and President Obama's nominating them to the Fourth Circuit."

Sen. Leahy at Nominations Hearing
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/10/10
"This President has from the outset worked with Senators from both parties to select outstanding, qualified judicial nominees. Five of these nominees come from states with a Democratic Senator and a Republican Senator. Each nominee has the support of both home state Senators. ... I, again, urge Senate Republicans to reconsider their strategy and allow prompt consideration of the other judicial nominees awaiting Senate consideration"

Sen. Leahy: Senate Confirms Third Circuit Nominee
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/09/10
"The Senate has confirmed just 15 circuit and district court nominations this Congress, less than half the number that were confirmed by this time during President Bush’s first term in office. The Senate last year confirmed just 12 circuit and district court nominations, the fewest judicial nominations in more than 50 years. There are more than 100 vacancies on federal benches across the country, and more than 20 future vacancies have been announced."

Sen. Leahy Feb. 9, 2010 Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/09/10
"I, again, urge Senate Republicans to reconsider their strategy and allow prompt consideration of the other judicial nominees awaiting Senate consideration:"

Sen. Feinstein on planned renomination of Edward Chen
(Democrat - California) 01/09/10
Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., who recommended Chen to Obama, said she is pleased with the planned renomination. "I hope that my colleagues will look closely at his complete record and that the Senate will confirm him soon," she said.

Chairman Leahy Statement On Judicial and Executive Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/23/09
"Republican obstruction is setting a new low for the Senate in our consideration of judicial nominations. ... Unlike his predecessor, President Obama has reached out and across the aisle to work with Republican Senators in making his judicial nominations.... his nomination to the Sixth Circuit from Tennessee, supported by Senator ALEXANDER. ... Judge Wynn and Judge Diaz have been nominated to fill two longstanding vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Both are from North Carolina. Senator BURR and Senator HAGAN worked with each other and with the White House on these nominations. I thank them both for their testimony before the committee last week in strong support of these nominees."

Chairman Leahy Statement at Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/17/09
"we held hearings on the nominations of Justice Sotomayor and 25 circuit and district court nominees. We have reported 22 of them and have the opportunity to report another this morning....I hope that no one will ask to put over any of these nominations."

Sen. Leahy Dec. 15, 2009 Floor Statement Renewing Call To Confirm Pending Nominations Before Recess
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/15/09
"During President Bush’s last year in office, we had reduced judicial vacancies to as low as 34, even though it was a presidential election year. As matters stand today, judicial vacancies have spiked, and we will start 2010 with the highest number of vacancies on Article III courts since 1994, when the vacancies created by the last comprehensive judgeship bill were still being filled. While it has been nearly 20 years since we enacted a federal judgeship bill, judicial vacancies are nearing record levels, with 97 current vacancies and another 23 already announced. If we had proceeded on the judgeship bill recommended by the U.S. Courts to address the growing burden on our Federal judiciary and provide access to justice for all Americans, vacancies would stand at 160, by far the highest on record."

Sen. Leahy: Dec. 9, 2009 Floor Statement on Pending Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/09/09
"There remain nine judicial nominations that have been given hearings and favorable consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee but that remain stalled before the Senate. ... the Republican minority has consented to allow votes on only nine of President Obama’s nominations to fill district and circuit court vacancies. We confirmed a tenth, Judge David Hamilton, after invoking cloture to overcome a Republican leadership-led filibuster. In comparison, by this date in 2001, we had confirmed 21 of President Bush’s nominations, including six to fill circuit court vacancies."

Sen. Leahy at Hearing On Executive And Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/18/09
"the Republican minority has allowed action on only about one-third as many judicial nominations to the Federal circuit and district courts as were confirmed in 2001. That is disgraceful. We reduced judicial vacancies to as low as 34 last year, even though it was the last year of President Bush's second term, and a presidential election year. But such vacancies have already more than doubled since then. There are 99 vacancies on our Federal circuit and district courts, and 22 more have already been announced. This is approaching record levels."

Sen. Leahy Opening Statement Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/05/09
"The Senate has before it on its Executive Calendar 10 judicial nominees and eight executive nominees reported by this Committee. We continue to hold confirmation hearings every two weeks, with our most recent just yesterday for another four judicial nominees from the home states of Senators on this Committee, as well as for the intellectual property enforcement coordinator. In addition, we have six more nominees on our Committee agenda today, including the nominee from Tennessee to the Sixth Circuit supported by Senators Alexander and Corker."

Sen. Leahy Statement at Hearing On Executive And Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/04/09
"Senate Republicans began this year threatening to filibuster every judicial nominee of the new President. They have followed through with that threat by obstructing and stalling the process, delaying for months the confirmation of well-qualified, consensus nominees. ... Why did it take three weeks and two hours of debate for the Senate to consider the nomination of Roberto Lange to the District of South Dakota after his nomination was reported unanimously? After these delays, his nomination was confirmed 100-0. Why has the Senate confirmed only a single circuit court nomination when there are five stalled by Republican objections on the Senate Executive Calendar, including two that have been pending since June?"