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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Leahy: Judiciary Committee Approves Nominee To Lead Key Immigration Office, . . . Sarah Saldaña To Be Considered Next By Full Senate
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/03/14
“Three judicial nominees to fill vacancies in New York, North Carolina and Virginia were held over by Republicans at Thursday’s meeting."

UPDATED: Republican Home-State Senators Support Judicial Nominees
(Republican - Utah, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, North Carolina) 11/25/14
Links and excerpts for Republican home-state senator support of judicial nominees during Senate's lame duck session and history of prior lame duck confirmations.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/20/14
“Today, we also have nine judicial nominations and one executive nomination on the agenda. All of the judicial nominations were held over last week and are ready to be reported to the Senate floor. At last week’s mark up, I had hoped to report at least the three nominations to fill judicial emergency vacancies in Texas. Unfortunately neither Texas Senator showed up to make the case to other Republican members to report out the Texas nominees and the Ranking Member asked that they be held over. One of these Texas vacancies has been left empty for six years. With nine current, and four known future, Texas district court vacancies, I hope the Texas Senators will secure cooperation on their side of the aisle so that rather than adding them to the list of routine filibusters they can be confirmed by consent before we adjourn.”

Sen. Leahy: Judiciary Committee Unanimously Approves Leahy-Cornyn FOIA Improvement Act. . . Nine Judicial Nominees Also Approved At Thursday Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/20/14
"Eight nominees to fill vacancies on our Federal district courts and one nominee to the U.S. Court of International Trade were also reported on Thursday. Those nominees now join 20 judicial nominees awaiting confirmation by the full Senate. There are currently 61 judicial vacancies throughout the country, and Leahy urged the Senate to approve the pending nominees who could fill some of those seats before the end of the year."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement [on Belated Confirmation of Three Georgia District Judges]
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/18/14
"We have confirmed three judges from Georgia and I want to compliment the two Senators from Georgia for their hard work, both in the Judiciary Committee and the White House. And in that, I am sorry they had to wait so long. On this side of the aisle we cleared every one of those for a voice vote months ago. I am sorry that your side wanted to delay it, but I see a 100-0 vote, and the voice votes are accurate. But I compliment the two Senators from Georgia for sticking with their nominees."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on need to confirm pending judicial nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/17/14
"[T]oday we will vote to end Republican filibusters on three district court nominations for Georgia, two of which are judicial emergency vacancies. The Senate should not need to waste our time jumping through these procedural hurdles to confirm nominees who are strongly supported by two Republican home State Senators. After we vote to invoke cloture and confirm these three nominees, we will still have 17 judicial nominees pending on the Executive Calendar--11 to serve on district courts and 6 to serve on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Another nine judicial nominees will be recommended by the Judiciary Committee this Thursday. By the end of the week, there will be 26 nominees reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee pending before the full Senate. All but a few of these nominees will have been reported unanimously and several are from States with at least one and sometimes two Republican home State Senators, including: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, and Texas. These nominees should all be confirmed before we recess in December. As I mentioned last week, I hope that Senate Republicans will work with Senate Democrats to ``clear the decks'' on pending business before the end of the 113th Congress, as the incoming majority leader has suggested. So let us work together as we have in past lameduck sessions to get these nominees confirmed and serving their communities. In 2002, after the midterm elections, Senate Democrats worked to confirm all 20 of President Bush's judicial nominees pending on the Executive Calendar all but one by voice vote. In the 2006 lameduck session, after Senate Democrats won the majority in the elections, Democrats agreed to confirm all 14 of President Bush's judicial nominations pending on the Executive Calendar, but this package was blocked by a Republican Senator. In the most recent lameduck sessions, in 2010 and 2012, a total of 32 judicial nominees were confirmed. We should do the same now."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/13/14
"In 2002, after the midterm elections, Senate Democrats worked to confirm all 20 of President Bush’s judicial nominees pending on the Executive Calendar – all but one by voice vote. In the 2006 lame duck session, after Senate Democrats won the majority in the elections, Democrats agreed to confirm all 14 of President Bush’s judicial nominations pending on the Executive Calendar, but this package was blocked by a Republican Senator. In the most recent lame duck sessions, in 2010 and 2012, a total of 32 judicial nominees were confirmed. With the 2014 midterm elections behind us I hope that we will, as the incoming Majority Leader suggests, “clear the decks” on pending business so that we can start fresh next year."

Sen. Leahy on Senate confirmation of nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/10/14
Leahy also called on Republicans to work with Democrats to address a backlog of more than 100 presidential nominees before the 2014 session ends. “If you’ve got somebody who is controversial, of course, have a debate and then have a vote. But 95 percent of the names that are pending there are non-controversial,” the Democrat said. “In fact, (most) probably went through the various committees with every Republican and every Democrat voting for them.””

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on unopposed Judicial Nominees awaiting Floor votes
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/07/14
"[W]e have on the calendar 18 nominees for Federal judgeships that passed unanimously. Every Republican and every Democrat in the Judiciary Committee voted for them. Many of them were recommended by Republican Senators and four of them for judicial emergencies. The oldest one has been pending since June, having gone through the committee unanimously. This is not being responsible to the American people."

Sen. Leahy statement On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/18/14
"Senate Republicans are refusing to allow confirmation votes on the more than 20 judicial nominees who will now be stuck in limbo for months. There is no good reason why the Senate cannot confirm these nominees before the recess other than wholesale obstruction of a co-equal branch of government’s nominees. The Senate Republicans’ baseless obstruction includes blocking from consideration nominations made to their home states....we have reduced the vacancies on our Federal courts from 92 to 59, but ... The Judicial Conference has identified the need for 91 new judgeships ... There remain 59 vacancies on the Federal bench – far more than the 45 vacancies at this point during the Bush administration. There are an additional 25 announced future judicial vacancies ... , we must return to session as soon as possible after the elections in November to complete our important work. The American people deserve courts capable of providing access to swift justice, not empty courtrooms and delays."

Sen. Leahy; Judiciary Chairman, Statement at Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/18/14
"Today, we have 10 judicial nominations on the agenda, including nine for district courts and one for the Court of Federal Claims. Each nomination is ready to be reported to the Senate floor."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy on Committee approval of judicial nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/18/14
Nine nominees to fill vacancies on our Federal district courts and one nominee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims were also reported on Thursday. Those nominees now join the seven district court and five U.S. Court of Federal Claims nominees awaiting confirmation by the full Senate. There are currently 59 judicial vacancies throughout the country, and Leahy urged the Senate to approve the pending nominees who could fill some of those seats today.

Sen. Judiciary Chairman Leahy Statement at Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/11/14
"Today, we have three bipartisan bills on the agenda. We also have 10 judicial nominees and one executive nominee, each who have the support of their home state senators. Given the short work period, I hope we can move forward on these bipartisan matters without delay."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 09/08/14
"Today we will finally vote on the confirmation of Jill Pryor of Georgia to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Her nomination has been pending in the Senate since February 2012—more than two and a half years"

Sen. Patrick Leahy statement [on judicial nominees, delays, filibusters, confirmations, need to create judgeships, Texas and other vacancies]
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/31/14
"[F]or the fifth year in a row, more than a dozen qualified, consensus judicial nominees pending before the full Senate will remain on the Executive Calendar during the August recess. ... We could be voting today to confirm 13 nominees to serve on our Federal courts, 12 of whom were reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee by unanimous voice vote. ... Since the beginning of this year, we have reduced the vacancies on our Federal courts by over a third, from 92 to 57, and reduced the number of judicial emergency vacancies by nearly half, from 37 to 19. ... In addition to the 57 current vacancies, the Judicial Conference has identified the need for 91 new judgeships in some of America's judicial districts and circuits with the most burdensome caseloads. Last year, Senator Coons and I introduced the Federal Judgeship Act of 2013 to enact these recommendations into law. ...There remain 57 vacancies on the Federal bench--far more than the 42 vacancies at this point during the Bush administration. There are an additional 24 announced future vacancies ... The incredible burden facing Federal courts in Texas is understandable with its nine current district court vacancies--more than any other State. ...I also hope that the Texas Senators will continue to work with the administration on nominees to fill the six other current district vacancies in their State as well as the four known future district court vacancies."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement and letters of support for Pamela Harris's Fourth Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/24/14
"Both her testimony and the letters of bipartisan support for her nomination demonstrate that Pam Harris has a clear understanding of the role of a judge and make clear her commitment to follow Supreme Court precedent and to uphold the Constitution."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/24/14
"Many lawyers who have practiced with Pam Harris have written in support of her nomination, including many prominent Republicans who are respected in the legal community. One letter, signed by more than 80 of her professional peers, including Gregory Garre, the former U.S. Solicitor General for President George W. Bush reads, “We are lawyers from diverse backgrounds and varying affiliations, but we are united in our admiration for Pam's skills as a lawyer and our respect for her integrity, her intellect, her judgment, and her fair-mindedness.” Another letter of support from a number of current and former partners at O’Melveny and Myers LLP, including A.B. Culvahouse, who served as White House Counsel during the Reagan administration and Walter Dellinger, who served as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel and Acting U.S. Solicitor General during the Clinton administration reads, “Although we may not all share Pam’s views on a range of legal and political issues, we are united in the belief that Pam possesses the intellect, fair-mindedness, humility, and fundamental decency to make an excellent federal judge.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/17/14
"I have heard some Senators claim that Pamela Harris would be unable to set aside political views and faithfully uphold the Constitution. This is contradicted by both her testimony before the Committee and her professional record. The Committee has received many letters of support for Ms. Harris’ nomination, including from numerous prominent Republicans who are respected in the legal community."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Nomination of Judge Ronnie White
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/16/14
"The Senate will vote today to try to end the unjustified filibuster against Judge Ronnie White, who has been nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Many Senators will remember Judge White from 15 years ago, when the Senate denied his confirmation by a party line vote after an ugly campaign by Republican Senators to caricature him as a jurist who was soft on crime. Today, the Senate has an opportunity to reject that unjust characterization and confirm a well-qualified and principled man who has demonstrated his ability to be a fair judge and who is faithful to the law."

Sen. Leahy Statement on NOMINATION OF CHERYL ANN KRAUSE TO BE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT JUDGE FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/26/14
"Ms. Krause should already have been confirmed and be at work for the American people. Instead, Senate Republicans continue to filibuster qualified, uncontroversial nominees who in previous years would have been confirmed without any delay. This is deeply unfair to all Americans seeking access to justice and to the judicial nominees who, like Cheryl Krause, have had distinguished careers in the law. Of the 54 judicial nominees filibustered this year, 30 have been confirmed unanimously, without a single vote against them. These filibusters are undeserved, and should stop."

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On Senate Confirmation Of Geoffrey Crawford To The U.S. District Court In Vermont
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/24/14
“Justice Crawford came highly recommended, well qualified, and broadly experienced. He’s a well-grounded Vermonter and a good fit for Vermont and our federal court. I appreciate the bipartisan cooperation that has helped me steer his nomination through this intricate process in pretty much record time. His prompt confirmation will ease the transition.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Crawford Nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/23/14
"Justice Crawford, like the three other nominees we will vote on today, has been nominated to fill an emergency vacancy. He is a qualified, uncontroversial nominee, with the full support of his home state Senators. He and the three other nominees deserve to be confirmed without delay. I thank the Majority Leader for bringing these nominations up for a vote, and urge Senators to vote to defeat these filibusters and get these nominees working for the American people in courthouses around the nation."

Sen. Leahy: SJC Approves 13 Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/19/14
"The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved 13 nominees to fill judicial vacancies ... Six of the nominees approved on Thursday would fill emergency vacancies, including two emergency vacancies on the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.... "I am proud once again to support the nomination of Ronnie White, an excellent nominee who has distinguished himself as a judge and attorney,” Leahy said. “The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police said ‘We can think of no finer or more worthy nominee,’ and I agree. Nearly 15 years after Ronnie White’s nomination was wrongly blocked by Senate Republicans, I hope that all Senators will stand on the right side of history and support his confirmation.”"

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee at Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/18/14
"Ronnie White is nominated to serve as a district judge in the Eastern District of Missouri. I supported him when he was first nominated by President Clinton nearly 17 years ago. In the intervening years, Judge White went on to be the first African American to serve as the Chief Judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. ... The Committee has received several letters of support for Judge White’s nomination, including from the President of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, who wrote on behalf of its more than 5,400 members. He wrote: “We [are] hopeful that the Senate confirms his nomination. We do not take such stances lightly. As front line law enforcement officers, we recognize the important need to have jurists such as Ronnie White, who have shown themselves to be tough on crime, yet fair and impartial. As a former justice on the Missouri Court of Appeals and as the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, Ronnie White has proven that he has the experience and requisite attributes to be a quality addition to the U.S. District Court. We can think of no finer or more worthy nominee." I could not agree more"

Sen. Leahy Statement [on Historic Judicial Nominations & Filibusters]
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/17/14
"The confirmation of these nominees will be historic milestones for diversity on the Federal bench. If confirmed, Judge Mendoza would be the first Latino to serve on the Federal bench in the Eastern District of Washington. The confirmation of Staci Yandle would make her the first African-American woman ever to serve as a Federal judge in the Southern District of Illinois, as well as the first openly gay Federal judge to serve in Illinois. And, if confirmed, Judge Gayles would be the first openly gay African-American man judge to ever serve on the Federal bench. It is important that the Federal bench reflects the diversity of the American people, and we should be proud of the progress we are making today.... With yesterday's cloture votes, the Senate has voted on cloture for judicial nominees 50 times so far this year. This is more than all the cloture votes on judicial nominees during the two preceding administrations combined. This level of partisanship is meritless, and only serves to weaken the Federal courts and the American justice system."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting June 12, 2014
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/12/14
"We have 15 judicial nominees that can be reported out today with some cooperation ... it is very rare that we have a judicial nominee before us from my home state because we only have two authorized district court judgeships. Today, I hope the Committee will report the nomination of Justice Geoffrey Crawford to be the next federal district court judge in Vermont. Justice Crawford has earned a great reputation from his long service on the state trial court and he was recently elevated to our Supreme Court. I recommended him to the President because he is thoughtful, brilliant, and appreciates the impact that the courts have on the communities they serve. Also on today’s agenda is one of my longtime counsels, Lydia Griggsby. She has worked for me since 2006 and she currently serves as my Chief Counsel for Privacy and Information Policy. She has worked across the aisle on a number of issues over the years, and many of you know firsthand that she will make an excellent addition to the Court of Federal Claims. I hope we can report these nominations today"

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Committee Consideration of Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/11/14
"“This week, the Judiciary Committee will begin consideration of a number of important judicial nominations. After consulting with Ranking Member Grassley, I will be adding six additional judicial nominees from Georgia to this week’s agenda. I have always consulted with home state senators regarding nominations in their states, and Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson asked that I move forward with the Georgia nominees who were ready for a Committee vote. I thank both of them for their willingness to move forward with these important nominations. Meanwhile, the Committee will continue its consideration of the nomination of Michael Boggs to serve on the district court in Georgia. More time is needed to follow up on his recent testimony before his nomination will be scheduled for a vote.”

Sen. Leahy Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/10/14
"After today, we will have already voted 47 times for cloture in just the last 6 months. These votes do nothing to further what should be our collective goal of an efficient and fair justice system, accessible to all. I can only hope that Senate Republicans soon put an end to this obstruction.... After today, we will have already voted 47 times for cloture in just the last 6 months. These votes do nothing to further what should be our collective goal of an efficient and fair justice system, accessible to all. I can only hope that Senate Republicans soon put an end to this obstruction.... Mr. Boulware's ABA rating is higher than or on par with 33 of President Bush's nominees who were confirmed ... he will be the first African-American man to serve as a Federal judge in the District of Nevada.... There are seven additional judicial nominees reported by the Judiciary Committee currently pending on the Senate Executive Calendar. Five of these nominees are nominated to fill judicial emergency vacancies, and I hope the Senate will act quickly to confirm these nominations."