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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Feinstein Remarks on Stephen Schwartz Court of Federal Claims nomination
(Democrat - California) 07/25/17
"In my longer statement I also outline some concerns I have with Mr. Schwartz’s nomination. I understand he has never litigated in the court he is being nominated for, nor is he even admitted to practice before that court.... In 2014, President Obama nominated five people to the Court of Federal Claims. All of them had between 20 and 37 years of legal experience each. All of them had experience litigating before the Court of Federal Claims. All of them were voted out of Committee by voice vote—as in, they had wide bipartisan support because they were nonpartisan, highly qualified nominees. And all of them were blocked from final confirmation for the next two years by Senator Tom Cotton, who claimed that the Court of Federal Claims’ workload meant that it did not need any new judges. Today, we are considering the nomination of Stephen Schwartz to this same court. Mr. Schwartz has only nine years of legal experience. Based on the materials Mr. Schwartz submitted to the Committee, it appears that Mr. Schwartz has never litigated before the Court of Federal Claims. Indeed, he has not been admitted to practice before the Court he has been nominated to join. He has only been chief counsel in two cases that have reached final appellate or trial court decisions. Mr. Chairman, I have serious concerns about whether this nominee is qualified at this point in his career to serve on the court to which he has been nominated.”

SEN. HOEVEN: JUDGE RALPH ERICKSON EXCEPTIONALLY QUALIFIED TO SERVE ON THE 8TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: Senator Introduces Erickson at Judiciary Committee Hearing, Presses for Confirmation
(Republican - North Dakota) 07/25/17
“A longtime North Dakotan, Judge Erickson has demonstrated a deep respect for the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Hoeven. “He is incredibly qualified to serve on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. I am confident he will be an excellent addition to the second highest court in the United States and I encourage the committee to approve his nomination quickly.”

Sen. Feinstein Remarks on the blue slip process
(Democrat - California) 07/25/17
“The purpose of the blue slip is to encourage meaningful consultation between the White House and home state senators on nominees. Already this year, Judge Amul Thapar was confirmed as a judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals from Kentucky, and Kevin Newsom is awaiting confirmation to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals from Alabama. Both of these nominations were only possible because Chairman Grassley consistently honored the blue slip rule for circuit court nominees under President Obama. President Obama had nominated other people to fill those Kentucky and Alabama vacancies, but the home state senators did not return blue slips for nine and ten months, respectively, and those nominations expired. That is the prerogative of home state senators when it comes to blue slips, and it is a prerogative that Senator Grassley and Senator Leahy both honored as chairmen. Senators deserve all the time they need to review a nominee’s record and make a decision about the blue slip.”

(Republican - Idaho) 07/24/17
"In spite of the hyper-partisan climate in our nation’s capital, in a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 100-0, the U.S. Senate recently confirmed Judge David Nye to serve as the next United States District Judge for the District of Idaho. ... To address the need for an additional judge in Idaho, the Idaho Congressional Delegation continues to press for the addition of a third judgeship.... Judge Nye was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho. He was previously nominated to the same position by President Barack Obama in 2016 and approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 114th Congress concluded without completing the confirmation process."

Sen. Durbin Urges No Vote On John Bush Nomination To 6th Circuit Court Of Appeals
(Democrat - Illinois) 07/19/17
In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) urged his colleagues to oppose the nomination of John Bush, who has been nominated to serve a lifetime appointment on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. ... “The Federal Courts of Appeal have a significant impact on the lives of all Americans. Because the Supreme Court only reviews a limited number of cases each year, decisions by the Circuit Courts represent the final word on thousands of legal matters that involve a host of important issues. The Senate must take seriously its obligation to vet candidates for the Circuit Courts. The Senate has to take very seriously its obligation to consider candidates for this important court. We have to make sure they have the qualifications, the temperament, and the judgement to serve for the rest of their lives. Based upon Mr. Bush’s record and his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, I believe he falls short of this standard,” said Durbin. “This vote, when it comes to his nomination, is not a close call. It is clear that Mr. Bush has friends in high places, but he’s demonstrated a temperament and a judgment which we should not put in a lifetime position on the federal Courts of Appeal. I urge my colleagues to oppose his nomination.”

Sen. Murray: “Unconscionable” Senate GOP Pushing to Confirm Anti-Women, Anti-LGBTQ Nominee for Lifetime Circuit Court Appointment
(Democrat - Washington) 07/19/17
"There are so many troubling aspects of Bush’s record, previous statements, writings, and legal views—they should alarm every American. From his views on LGBTQ rights and about race and campaign finance reform, to his vision for the environment and of our election laws.” “For nearly a decade, Bush has made countless inflammatory, offensive, and troubling comments on a number of issues important to women .... this not a normal nominee, and that this is someone who lacks the qualifications and character and temperament to be appointed to a lifetime position on the federal bench"

Senators Markey, Warren Re-Convene Bipartisan Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations: Governor Baker and Mass. Bar Association Praise Addition of Newest Committee Member, Who Previously Oversaw Judicial Selection as Aide to Governor Romney
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 07/18/17
"I thank the dedicated men and women on this Advisory Committee, including newest member Elissa Flynn-Poppey, who are willing to commit their time and expertise for the benefit of Massachusetts," said Senator Markey. "Their participation is a critical part of the nomination process and will help ensure judicial vacancies are filled efficiently and by qualified individuals who hold the esteem and respect of peers, colleagues and their communities." "I'm glad to join Senator Markey in reconvening the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations, and I am very pleased to welcome Elissa Flynn-Poppey to the committee. Elissa brings valuable expertise to this bipartisan process," Senator Warren said. "The bipartisan Advisory Committee plays an important role ensuring that federal courts in Massachusetts are comprised of highly qualified and fair-minded judges. I look forward to receiving the committee's recommendations."

SENS. ISAKSON, PERDUE STATEMENTS ON THREE GEORGIA FEDERAL JUDGE NOMINEES: Self nominated to Middle district, Ray and Brown nominated to Northern district
(Republican - Georgia) 07/13/17
“The president has nominated three outstanding Georgians, and I look forward to working with them as they go through the confirmation process in the Senate,” said Isakson. “President Trump nominated an impressive and qualified group of individuals to fill the vacant federal judgeships in the Middle and Northern Districts of Georgia,” said Perdue. “I look forward to meeting with Mike Brown, William Ray and Tripp Self as they go through the Senate confirmation process.”

Sen. Alexander Statement on Nominations of Mark Norris and Tommy Parker to Serve as U.S. District Judges for the Western District of Tennessee
(Republican - Tennessee) 07/13/17
On Norris: “Mark has served the state of Tennessee in public office – as a state senator and currently as the Senate Majority Leader – and has also practiced law for over 30 years working as a litigator in the trial and appellate courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Tennessee will be well-served by a man of such good character and good temperament, and I look forward to introducing him to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.” On Parker: “Since he graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Law, Tommy Parker has been one of the finest attorneys in Memphis – including nearly a decade of service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee – and I am confident he will be an equally effective judge. I look forward to introducing him to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I hope the Senate will quickly consider his nomination.”

Senators Lankford, Inhofe Applaud Nomination of Judge Charles Goodwin to US District Court in Oklahoma
(Republican - Oklahoma) 07/13/17
“Charles Goodwin is a qualified judicial candidate for the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, and I’m pleased he’s been nominated,” said Lankford. “He has served Oklahoma well as a Magistrate Judge, and I am confident that he’ll continue to serve this court and the nation well because of his commitment to the rule of law.” “Charles Goodwin is a strong pick for the Western District of Oklahoma,” Inhofe said. “He has served as U.S. magistrate judge in the Western District for four years and has extensive experience as a civil litigator. He has a reputation for being fair and ethical and his strong understanding of the Western District will serve him well in this role. In nominating Charles, President Trump has picked a judge that will ensure the laws of our nation and our Constitution are followed and will not legislate from the bench.”

Sen. Feinstein Sets the Record Straight on Blue Slip, Speaks Against Right-Wing Nominees
(Democrat - California) 07/13/17
"I intend to support Mr. Newsom for the Eleventh Circuit, but I need to make a point about blue slips first. In February 2016, President Obama nominated U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon for this very same vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit. A few years earlier, Judge Kallon had been unanimously confirmed with the support of Senators Shelby and Sessions when he was nominated to the federal district court bench. However, Judge Kallon did not receive a hearing in this committee last year because Senators Shelby and Sessions did not support his elevation to the circuit court and thus did not return their blue slips. That’s the prerogative of home state senators for judicial nominees from their states—including circuit court judges and it has existed for 100 years.... President Obama’s nominee Judge Kallon and three other circuit nominees waited nine, 10, up to 11 months for blue slips that never came .... I am not able to support Mr. Bush’s nomination to the Sixth Circuit or Mr. Schiff’s nomination to the Court of Federal Claims.... they expressed strident, provocative and in some cases deeply offensive opinions on a wide range of political and legal issues. If I were a litigant before them, I would not have the confidence that these individuals had the temperament or impartiality to serve as a federal judge.... Bush wrote blog posts where he relied on extreme right-wing sources like World Net Daily .... Schiff referred to Justice Kennedy as a ‘judicial prostitute,’ and accused Justice Kennedy of ‘selling his vote as it were to four other justices in exchange for the high that comes from aggrandizement of power and influence.’ Shocking. Mr. Schiff also criticized a California school district’s proposed anti-bullying initiative for teaching that ‘homosexual families are the moral equivalent of traditional heterosexual families.’ Lastly, Mr. Schiff has repeatedly made clear his hostility to environmental laws that protect our clean air and clean water."

Sens. Burr and Tillis Welcome Nomination of Thomas Farr as District Judge for Eastern North Carolina
(Republican - North Carolina) 07/13/17
Today, at the recommendation of North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Thomas Farr to fill the United States District Court vacancy for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “I am pleased once again to support Thomas Farr for District Judge of the Eastern District of North Carolina,” said Senator Burr. “Mr. Farr was previously nominated for this judgeship in 2006. His wealth of experience will serve North Carolina well.” “Thomas Farr is widely respected as one of the best legal minds in North Carolina,” said Senator Tillis. “He is impeccably qualified and I am confident he will be an independent-minded judge committed to fairness and will faithfully apply the law.”

[Sen. Franken tweet with three videos of his statements at Judiciary Committee opposing John Bush and Damien Schiff nominations]
(Democrat - Minnesota) 07/13/17
I believe that John Bush, a nominee to 6th Circuit, is unsuitable to serve on U.S. Court of Appeals. More from @senjudiciary hearing today: ... A man who anonymously posted inflammatory blog posts, who relied upon info from news sources that publish lies shouldn't be a federal judge.... And Damien Schiff, nom for U.S. Court of Federal Claims, does not deserve to be a federal judge or a lifetime appointment.

(Republican - Tennessee) 07/13/17
“These two vacancies have been designated as judicial emergencies, and I appreciate President Trump moving quickly to fill these critical positions by nominating William ‘Chip’ Campbell and Eli Richardson,” said Corker. “Chip and Eli are respected lawyers, and I am confident that they will faithfully uphold the Constitution and impartially apply the law. I congratulate them on being nominated, and I am pleased to recommend them to my colleagues for swift confirmation.”

Sens. Merkely & Wyden spokespersons on judicial nominations and selection
(Democrat - Oregon) 07/12/17
But a spokeswoman for Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Portland, said the delay is not on his end, adding that the White House has barely started to engage in the customary consultation with the state's senators over such picks. "Sen. Merkley plans to use the same process for judicial nominations that has served the state well for years: having a panel of respected attorneys interview candidates, review their records, and make recommendations," the spokeswoman, Sara Hottman, said in an email on Tuesday. "Sen. Merkley has communicated that to the White House and to the Judiciary Committee, and has been clear he cannot commit to signing off on any nominees who don't go through that process. "Sen. Merkley has a call with the White House counsel today," she added. "The call is the first time in six months the administration has reached out on the subject of U.S. Attorney nominations, so it is not accurate to blame 'Democratic foot-dragging' on the delay in finding replacements." A spokesman for Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon's ranking Democrat, echoed that message. "Sen. Wyden is working with Sen. Merkley and Congressman Walden on developing a process that provides the fairest and best opportunity to forward good candidates for these posts."

Sen. McConnell: Senate Democrats Causing Historically Slow Nomination Process
(Republican - Kentucky) 07/12/17
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today

Sen. Feinstein: Protect Senate ‘Advise-and-Consent’ Role on Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - California) 07/12/17
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on the Senate to protect the role of senators in the nominations process. Over the past two weeks, there have been a number of baseless attacks against the blue slip and Democratic senators .... "The blue slip has been used since 1917 and history is being misrepresented in a brazen attempt to destroy the Senate’s prerogative to ‘advise-and-consent’ on judicial nominees. “The blue slip is the one opportunity that home-state senators have to weigh in on judges that will serve their constituents and it has always been taken seriously. It was always honored during the Obama administration—even when Republicans did not return blue slips for up to two and a half years. “The bottom line is that no circuit court nominee has been confirmed without two blue slips from home-state senators since at least 1981. As far as this senator is concerned, no senator should be chastised for thoroughly vetting nominees using a tool that’s been around for 100 years. “It’s telling that just six months into the Trump administration there is this proactive effort to effectively eliminate the role of senators in the nominations process. No Democratic senator has said that he or she will reject all Trump judicial nominees. Rather, they will review nominees on a case-by-case basis. This effort isn’t a response to obstruction—there’s been no obstruction. This is about giving conservative outside groups the ability to hand pick judges. “Rather than nominate candidates to fill vacancies in states with two Republican senators, the White House has prioritized vacancies in states with Democratic senators. There are three vacancies on the Fifth Circuit, including two in Texas that have been open for more than three years. If the White House was so concerned about vacancies it would have focused on these seats.”

Sens. Rubio, Nelson Announce Judicial Nominating Commission Members
(Democrat, Republican - Florida) 07/12/17
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today announced the full membership of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) for the 115th Congress. The commission is chaired by Carlos López-Cantera and charged with identifying and recommending to the senators highly qualified individuals for consideration to become U.S. district judges in each of the three judicial districts in Florida. “We appreciate the willingness of these men and women to volunteer their time and expertise for the benefit of Florida,” said the senators. “Their input and recommendations are a critical part of the process and will help ensure judicial vacancies are filled in a timely manner by qualified individuals who are well regarded by their peers and communities.”

ID Senators: Senate Unanimously Confirms Judge David Nye of Pocatello to be US District Judge for Idaho: Crapo, Risch Lead Judge Nye’s Nomination to Completion
(Republican - Idaho) 07/12/17
“I thank my colleagues for expediting Judge Nye’s consideration and confirmation,” said Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Judge Nye is a supremely qualified candidate for a U.S. district judge seat, having both a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the ABA and receiving approval from the Judiciary Committee without dissent twice in under 12 months. Judge Nye is a well-respected jurist in Idaho and is heavily-involved in the training and orientation of new judges. I congratulate Judge Nye on his confirmation and am confident he will continue to serve the people of Idaho and its legal community well into the future.” “I am pleased that the U.S. Senate has approved Judge Nye as U.S. District Judge in Idaho,” said Senator Risch. “Judge Nye is a qualified and experienced jurist who has great respect for the rule of law, and who has rejected judicial activism in his service as a state judge. His confirmation is a true win for Idahoans. In the midst of Idaho’s judicial emergency, I also want to thank President Trump and Leader McConnell for making Judge Nye’s confirmation a priority for the Senate. I look forward to his forthcoming many years of service as a U.S. District Judge.” Judge Nye was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho. He was previously nominated to the same position by President Obama in 2016 and approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 114th Congress concluded without completing the confirmation process. The Trump administration, in consultation with both Crapo and Risch, re-nominated Judge Nye on May 8, and his nomination was confirmed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 15.

(Republican - Idaho) 07/11/17
In remarks today before the full Senate, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch spoke of the widely-respected legal experience and service of Judge David C. Nye.... “Judge Nye is a supremely qualified candidate for a federal district court seat, having both a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association and enjoyed approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee without dissent twice in a little less than a year,” said Crapo, a member of the panel. “It is rare to be nominated by presidents of different parties, but it is a fitting testament to Judge Nye’s sterling reputation that he has secured that distinction. I appreciate the Majority Leader giving Judge Nye the honor of being the first U.S. district judge confirmed by the 115th Congress.” “I want to personally thank the White House for very quickly re-nominating Judge Nye for this position, at the request of myself and Senator Crapo,” said Senator Risch. “Judge Nye will be a person who will make us all proud. Certainly we're going to be very happy to have this judgeship filled in Idaho and particularly with someone of the quality of Judge Nye.” ... Both senators’ remarks follow below. ...

Sen. Schumer Floor Statement on David Nye and other nominations
(Democrat - New York) 07/11/17
S3895-96: "I heard the majority leader complain about the slow pace of nominations. Our Republican friends, when they are worried about the slow pace of nominations, ought to look in the mirror. This President has nominated fewer nominees than has anyone else, and seven of the major nominees had to withdraw their nominations. Many of them were brought here to the Senate without the necessary documentation--the paperwork, the ethics reports, the FBI reports. ... My colleague complained about this nominee from Idaho. He was outraged that he had to file cloture. I would remind the majority leader that this district judge was nominated by President Obama in the last Congress and that he was the majority leader in the last Congress, which was responsible for putting nominees on the Senate calendar. The district court judge is only one of many nominees who the Republicans failed to move in the last Congress--a Congress which confirmed the fewest number of judges of any Congress since the Eisenhower administration."

Sen. Schumer Floor Statement: NOMINATIONS
(Democrat - New York) 07/10/17
"I understand the White House is complaining about the pace of nominations, citing the obstruction of Senate Democrats. If the White House is looking for a cause of the delay, they only need to look in the mirror. No administration in recent memory has been slower in sending nominees to the Senate. In the last few weeks, the administration has sent several nominees without all of their paperwork or their ethics agreements complete. We can't go forward until that happens. The White House has sent nominees for the Cabinet on down without the paperwork or ethics agreements completed. That is almost unprecedented in its degree. Time and again, they have stalled on providing committees with the information they need to proceed on nominations."

Sens. Stabenow, Peters Accepting Applications from Candidates Interested in Nomination for Federal Judgeship and U.S. Attorney in Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan
(Democrat - Michigan) 07/07/17
Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today announced they are accepting applications from qualified persons interested in nomination for federal judge or United States Attorney. There is currently one vacancy on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and one vacancy on the United States District Court for the Western District.... “As Senators representing the State of Michigan, it is our constitutional responsibility to evaluate a nominee’s qualifications, experience and judicial philosophy to ensure their nomination is in the best interest of the people of Michigan,” said Senator Stabenow. “I am confident that there are many qualified people in our state that are ready to serve as federal judge or U.S Attorney. I encourage those interested in serving to apply for these important positions.” “There is a long standing tradition of Senators evaluating and recommending highly qualified home state candidates for federal judgeship and U.S. Attorney roles,” said Senator Peters. “Federal judges and U.S. Attorneys make decisions that directly impact the people of Michigan as they work to administer justice fairly and compassionately, and I encourage qualified applicants who are interested in public service to apply.” It is the Senate’s tradition for both home state Senators to recommend judicial nominees to the President for consideration. After someone is nominated, it is Senate procedure for the home state senators to agree to consideration of a nominee before the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts hearings and votes. This is commonly called the “blue slip” process. Nominations approved by the Committee are then considered by the full Senate. President Trump has already nominated Justice Joan Larsen to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both Senators received her completed application and background materials last week, which includes hundreds of pages of documents. They are in the process of thoroughly reviewing her record. Senators Stabenow and Peters will continue to listen to public input and consult with Michigan’s legal community to ensure that our state is served by highly qualified, fair and impartial judges that put the people of Michigan first.

Sens. Grassley, Ernst Invite Iowans to be Considered for Judgeship in Northern District of Iowa
(Republican - Iowa) 07/07/17
"Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst today invited Iowa lawyers who would like to be recommended for a judicial appointment by President Donald Trump to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Iowa to submit applications by August 11. The senators intend to make recommendations to fill the federal judgeship that will be left vacant when Judge Linda R. Reade, of Cedar Rapids, takes senior status. Reade was recommended in 2002 by Grassley to President George W. Bush .... Federal judges are nominated by the President, confirmed “with the advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate, and serve lifetime appointments.

Sen. Franken spokesman on Stras judicial nomination
(Democrat - Minnesota) 07/04/17
Neither Sens. Amy Klobuchar nor Al Franken have returned their blue slips signaling acceptance of Justice Stras. Both senators are currently reviewing his record. “That takes time — especially since he was not meaningfully consulted by the White House in advance of the nomination,” said Michael Dale-Stein, a spokesman for Mr. Franken.