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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Young: Federal Judge Applications
(Republican - Indiana) 02/14/17
"Indiana currently has four judicial vacancies: three in the District Court (Northern, Fort Wayne; Northern, South Bend; Southern, Indianapolis) and one in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Qualified individuals can apply for these positions by downloading the application form here and returning it following the instructions on the form prior to the March 13, 2017 deadline. United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Application Northern District Court Application Southern District Court Application"

Sen. Sasse Announces Nebraska Justice and Judicial Nominations Advisory Commission
(Republican - Nebraska) 02/14/17
Sen. Sasse Press Release: "Senator Sasse’s Nebraska Justice and Judicial Nominations Advisory Commission is an independent body of well-respected Nebraska leaders that will review applications, interview candidates, and make recommendations to Senator Sasse. Each Senator makes his or her recommendation to the White House. After the White House sends a nomination to the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its confirmation process which, by longstanding precedent, requires the approval of both home-state senators."

Sen. Baldwin: WISCONSIN SENATORS RENEW AGREEMENT ON WISCONSIN JUDICIAL COMMISSION AND CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR U.S. ATTORNEY VACANCIES
(Democrat - Wisconsin) 02/13/17
Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson renewed their agreement establishing the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission to advance federal nominations, including vacant federal judgeships and U.S. Attorney positions in Wisconsin. This process has already led to the confirmation of James Peterson in the Western District of Wisconsin and Pamela Pepper in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Commission shall consist of six Wisconsinites who are members of the Wisconsin State Bar. Three members will be appointed by each Senator, who will each have a Co-Chair on the Commission. ... Applications for Wisconsin’s Seventh Circuit vacancy will be available on March 15, with applications due on April 29 and a recommendation to the Senators provided by July 13, 2017. Applications for the Eastern District Court vacancy will be available on April 29, with applications due on May 29, and a recommendation to the Senators provided on or before August 12, 2017. ... “I am pleased to join Senator Johnson in moving forward in a bipartisan manner to advance the process of filling Wisconsin’s legal and judicial vacancies in the 115th Congress,” Senator Baldwin said. “I am confident that the commission will identify for our consideration highly qualified individuals who would serve the people of Wisconsin with fairness and impartiality.”

Sen. Ron Johnson: WISCONSIN SENATORS RENEW AGREEMENT ON WISCONSIN JUDICIAL COMMISSION AND CALL FOR APPLICATIONS FOR U.S. ATTORNEY VACANCIES
(Republican - Wisconsin) 02/13/17
Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson renewed their agreement establishing the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission to advance federal nominations, including vacant federal judgeships and U.S. Attorney positions in Wisconsin. This process has already led to the confirmation of James Peterson in the Western District of Wisconsin and Pamela Pepper in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Commission shall consist of six Wisconsinites who are members of the Wisconsin State Bar. Three members will be appointed by each Senator, who will each have a Co-Chair on the Commission. ... Applications for Wisconsin’s Seventh Circuit vacancy will be available on March 15, with applications due on April 29 and a recommendation to the Senators provided by July 13, 2017. Applications for the Eastern District Court vacancy will be available on April 29, with applications due on May 29, and a recommendation to the Senators provided on or before August 12, 2017. ... “This is the first step in filling important law enforcement and judicial vacancies in our state,” Senator Johnson said. “Wisconsinites deserve high quality legal minds to administer the law, and I encourage candidates who value fidelity to our Constitution and the rule of law to apply for these positions. This nomination process has worked well in the past, resulting in the confirmation of James Peterson and Pamela Pepper to the federal bench. I am confident it will work again in the future.”

Sen. Leahy: Ensuring Judicial Independence Will Require SENATE Independence
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/13/17
"In light of the unconstitutional actions of our new President, the Senate owes the American people a thorough and unsparing examination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. That should include at least four days of hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee where senators can ask questions of the nominee and also hear from multiple panels of outside witnesses. With the ideological litmus test that President Trump has applied in making this selection, the American people are justified to wonder whether Judge Gorsuch can truly be independent of the President who nominated him, and the moneyed interests that hand-picked him. This question can only be answered in an open and transparent process in the Senate Judiciary Committee, in contrast to the backroom and unilateral decision to deny Chief Judge Garland a hearing."

Sens. Fischer, Sasse Announce Judicial Nominations Process for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
(Republican - Nebraska) 02/10/17
Nebraska’s U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse announced the application process for filling a forthcoming vacancy in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Last week, Chief Judge William Jay Riley announced he will transition from active service to senior status effective June 30, 2017. Under the U.S. Constitution, judicial nominations are made by the president “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Typically, home state senators work with the Office of White House Counsel to identify for the president’s consideration qualified candidates for vacancies on the U.S. circuit courts. Senators Fischer and Sasse invite applications from qualified Nebraskans.

Charles Schumer: Judge Gorsuch, We Won’t Be Fooled Again
(Democrat - New York) 02/10/17
"The bar is always high to achieve a seat on the Supreme Court, but in these unusual times — when there is unprecedented stress on our system of checks and balances — the bar is even higher for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to demonstrate independence. In order to clear it, he will have to convince 60 of my colleagues that he will not be influenced by politics, parties or the president. The judiciary is the last and most important check on an overreaching president with little respect for the rule of law. The only way to demonstrate the independence necessary is for Judge Gorsuch to answer specific questions about the judiciary and his judicial philosophy.... But over the course of an hour, he refused to answer even the most rudimentary questions.... The overarching lesson of Chief Justice Roberts can be summed up in a familiar phrase: Fool me once, shame on them; fool me twice, shame on me.... A truly independent judge would have the fortitude to condemn the president’s remarks, not just express disapproval, and to do it publicly."

Sen. Manchin on Garland and Gorsuch Supreme Court nominations
(Democrat - West Virginia) 02/10/17
He was asked about Gorsuch. Some Democrats were clamoring to block Gorsuch the way Republicans had obstructed Obama’s pick for the court. “It truly was an embarrassment the way Mitch McConnell treated a really accomplished jurist and a decent person in Merrick Garland,” Manchin said. “But I don’t know if two wrongs make a right.”

Sen. Donnelly Statement on Meeting with President Trump
(Democrat - Indiana) 02/09/17
“We had a productive and wide-ranging discussion on preventing the outsourcing of American jobs, addressing the opioid abuse epidemic, and we also talked about Supreme Court nominee, Judge Gorsuch. Hoosiers hired me to do a job: to represent everybody in our state and work hard to do what’s best for Hoosier families—and this was a good opportunity to talk about a number of issues important to Hoosiers and our country.”

[VIDEO] Sen Coons on President Trump’s response to Judge Gorsuch’s comments: “The larger issue here is that judicial independence is at risk”
(Democrat - Delaware) 02/09/17
"Frankly what matters here is whether or not Judge Gorsuch, who will be up for confirmation for the Supreme Court, in meetings with Senators and then ultimately publicly demonstrates judicial independence, demonstrates his understanding that an independent judiciary is one of the cornerstones of our constitutional order, and that President Trump’s recent comments personally attacking or challenging judges, who are delaying or may ultimately overturn his travel ban, deserve respect not to be attacked.... In my meeting with Judge Gorsuch, I will also ask him about judicial independence and I think, in due course, we will ask him about that during the confirmation hearing.... The larger issue is that judicial independence is at risk. ... I think President Trump is going to harm both Judge Gorsuch’s chances of confirmation and his standing as president if he continues to undermine the independence of the federal judiciary.”

Senator Collins’ Statement Following Meeting with Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
(Republican - Maine) 02/09/17
“The consideration of a Supreme Court nominee is one of the Senate’s most important constitutional responsibilities. “My more than hour-long meeting with Judge Gorsuch this morning confirmed for me what many on both sides of the aisle and those who know him well have said throughout his distinguished career: Judge Gorsuch is an individual with great integrity and extraordinary intellect who has a deep respect for the law. “Among the wide variety of issues we discussed, I was struck by three in particular: First, Judge Gorsuch indicated that he has a high regard for the role and importance of precedent; second, he made it clear that he will be a fierce defender of our independent judiciary; and third, Judge Gorsuch assured me that no one at the White House has asked him to commit to ruling a certain way on any case. “I was certainly impressed with Judge Gorsuch, and I look forward to his public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Sen. Heitkamp Statement Following Bipartisan Lunch with President Trump
(Democrat - North Dakota) 02/09/17
“We also talked about the need for any infrastructure package to include improving access to high-speed internet in rural communities as I’ve long pushed for, the importance of combating the opioid crisis across the country, and the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court who I met with yesterday.”

Senator Markey Reads Coretta Scott King Letter During Senate Debate on Nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 02/08/17
“Senator Warren deserves an apology for being silenced when she attempted to share this very relevant, very powerful part of our national history last night,” said Senator Markey in his remarks. “And the American people deserve to hear the important words of Coretta Scott King.” “Coretta Scott King was right in the 1960s. Coretta Scott King was right in 1986. Coretta Scott King is right today. “Based on the totality of Senator Sessions’ record, I have no confidence that he shares a commitment to justice for all Americans,” concluded Senator Markey. “I do not believe he will fight to defend the most vulnerable in our society. I do not believe he will stand up to President Trump when the time comes, as it surely will.”

SEN. TESTER STANDS WITH MONTANANS IN OPPOSING ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE JEFF SESSIONS
(Democrat - Montana) 02/08/17
"I will not back a nominee who supports the most intrusive aspects of the PATRIOT Act and refuses to support survivors of domestic violence," Tester said. "Mr. Sessions has proven that he will not protect our individual freedoms and he won't stand up for those who can't speak for themselves. I am proud to stand with thousands of Montanans who value their right to privacy and protections for women and children."

Sen. Merkley Statement on Jeff Sessions’ Nomination as Attorney General
(Democrat - Oregon) 02/08/17
“In his years in the Senate, Jeff Sessions has been a vehement opponent of LGBTQ rights, opposing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. And he has continued to advocate for voter suppression, despite the fact that our nation is founded on voter empowerment, even cheering the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act as ‘good news for the South.' Jeff Sessions’ record is not that of a man who will champion ‘liberty and justice for all,’ and that is why I oppose his nomination to this key post.”

On Senate Floor, Gillibrand Urges Colleagues To Oppose Sessions Nomination For Attorney General
(Democrat - New York) 02/08/17
Gillibrand: We need an Attorney General who will fight every day for equal justice and equal protection under our laws; Senator Sessions has no record of doing that.

Sen. Murray on Attorney General Nominee Before Final Vote: “Senator Sessions is Not the Attorney General This Country Needs”
(Democrat - Washington) 02/08/17
Murray has received 14,000 letters and emails and over 5,000 calls from people in Washington state, opposing Sessions by a wide margin due to his record on civil rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and more Murray: Oppose Sessions to “Send a message to [President Trump] who, just weeks into his term, has displayed shocking disdain for the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers” ICYMI— Senator Elizabeth Warren silenced on the Senate floor last night by Republicans when speaking against Sessions’ nomination —LINK Murray: “The stakes are too high to make Senator Sessions our next Attorney General”

Senator Hassan Participates in Floor Debate in Opposition to Senator Sessions’s Nomination for Attorney General
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 02/08/17
“Now more than ever it is critical to have an Attorney General who is an independent defender of our Constitution, who puts the rule of law before all else, who is committed to ensuring that all Americans have equal access to justice...I do not believe that Senator Sessions is fully committed to enacting those principles,” Senator Hassan remarked on the floor this morning....

VIDEO: Udall Reads from Coretta Scott King Letter in Opposing Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
(Democrat - New Mexico) 02/08/17
In addition to entering King's letter into the record, Udall expressed his deep concern that Sessions will refuse to serve as a check against the reckless, backward, and exclusionary policies of the Trump administration.

Sen. Feinstein Votes ‘No’ On Jeff Sessions Attorney General Nomination
(Democrat - California) 02/08/17
Feinstein yesterday spoke against Sessions’s nomination. Full remarks are available here. [LINK] Excerpts from her remarks, as delivered, follow:

Sen. Heitkamp Meets with U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch
(Democrat - North Dakota) 02/08/17
“One of the most important roles of a U.S. senator is to vet nominees to fill vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court through meetings and Senate hearings, and I take that job very seriously,” said Heitkamp. “Unfortunately, Senate Republicans broke tradition and historical precedent in refusing to give Judge Merrick Garland the full and fair consideration he deserved when he was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, forcing his nomination to languish for almost 300 days – by far the longest that a Supreme Court nomination has been held open. Unlike my colleagues, I believe my duty of advice and consent in these matters remains the same regardless of which party is in the White House – it is our job as U.S. Senators to perform this function and not play politics. That’s why I met with Judge Gorsuch today, and I appreciate him taking the time to come by my office. We had a thorough conversation about the importance of the rule of law and of a judiciary that is independent of the executive and legislative branches of government. We also talked about Indian law and treaties, fixing our criminal justice system, and empathy on the bench—a fundamental trait when the poor and underprivileged in North Dakota and beyond don’t have the same access to the courts as those who are better off.”

SEN. WHITEHOUSE STATEMENT ON SESSIONS CONFIRMATION
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 02/08/17
“I voted ‘no’ today because of Rhode Islanders’ serious concerns about Senator Sessions’s record on immigration, civil rights, protections for women, religious tolerance, and offense to broad groups of Americans. But, most of all, I voted ‘no’ because I do not have adequate confidence that he will fight for the Department’s mission when necessary with this President.”

Sen. Bennet Votes to Oppose Jeff Sessions Nomination
(Democrat - Colorado) 02/08/17
"The President is entitled to choose his team," Bennet continued. "But, the Attorney General, more than any other cabinet official, must be the people's lawyer, an advocate for the rule of law above all else." "It's clear from the nearly 23,000 calls and emails my office has received that Senator Sessions has not earned the confidence of many Coloradans who may soon rely on him to protect their rights and identify abuses of Constitutional power."

Sen. McCaskill Meets Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Gorsuch
(Democrat - Missouri) 02/08/17
Senator Claire McCaskill, a former Jackson County Prosecutor, today met with Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee—and released the following statement: “I was glad for the opportunity to sit down with Judge Gorsuch and hear more about his record and his views, and I’m looking forward to seeing his confirmation hearing."

Sen. Warren: Letter from Coretta Scott King About Jeff Sessions
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 02/08/17
On February 7, 2017, Senator Warren attempted to read the text of a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King about the nomination of Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship. The text of the letter is available below, or to download as a PDF here.

Sen. Feinstein: Republicans Shutting Down Senator Warren ‘Indefensible’
(Democrat - California) 02/08/17
“In 1986, Coretta Scott King wrote a powerful letter expressing her belief that Jeff Sessions lacked the ‘requisite judgment, competence and sensitivity to the rights guaranteed by the federal civil rights laws’ to serve as a federal judge. “Coretta Scott King was a voice worth hearing in 1986 and her opinion certainly remains relevant and valid today. “For Republicans to shut down Senator Warren when she tried to read Coretta Scott King’s letter is indefensible. That action is even more offensive because they allowed her male colleagues to read the exact same passages without batting an eye.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown Reads Letter from Dr. King Window in Protest Against Senator Warren's Censure
(Democrat - Ohio) 02/08/17
“It’s a sad day for democracy when the words of Coretta Scott King are not allowed on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” Brown said. “If we allow open, honest debate to be silenced, we are not doing our jobs.” Brown was the first Senator to announce he would vote against Sessions, citing Sessions record on civil rights, voting rights and his oppositions to efforts to improve police-community relations. King wrote the letter read by Senators this week in opposition to Sessions’ appointment as a federal judge in 1986.

Sen. Duckworth Votes Against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
(Democrat - Illinois) 02/08/17
“America needs a forceful advocate for fairness in its next Attorney General—someone who will fight for justice for all people—not a rubberstamp for the President. Unfortunately, Senator Sessions’ record and refusal to recuse himself from voting on other Trump nominees proves he will not be that person. Senator Sessions voted against extending hate crime protections to Americans who are targeted because of their gender, disability or sexual orientation. He argued for religious discrimination against Muslims. He wanted to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and criticized legal protections for people with disabilities as ‘irritating’ and ‘unnecessary.’ I am disappointed that Senator Sessions will now be in a position to erode the civil rights countless Americans bled to protect. I worry about what his Department of Justice will mean for our neighbors with disabilities, Americans of all sexual orientations, people of color and others who have historically been denied equal protection under our nation’s laws when public officials entrusted to enforce those protections turned a blind eye.”

VIDEO: Heinrich Reads Coretta Scott King Letter Opposing Jeff Sessions, Points To Hypocrisy Of Republicans Silencing Elizabeth Warren
(Democrat - New Mexico) 02/08/17
“I have already announced that I will vote against the nomination of Senator Sessions, and after this episode last night, I believe that now more than ever this position will require an unwavering commitment to protect Americans' constitutional rights and to stand up against discrimination and hate. Like the thousands of New Mexicans I've heard from, I lack confidence in Senator Sessions.”

Sen. Mark Warner on Confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
(Democrat - Virginia) 02/08/17
Senator Warner spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in opposition to the nomination. Video of that speech is available here. [LINK] Audio is available here. [LINK] “The Attorney General is charged with impartially and independently enforcing our nation’s laws and protecting the civil rights of all Americans. These are solemn responsibilities, and though I opposed this nomination, I will hold Senator Sessions accountable for executing them faithfully as Attorney General.”