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Sen. Leahy on three D.C. Circuit nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/04/13
Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman, told Reuters at Tuesday's White House announcement that all three candidates are "enormously qualified" and that any opposition from Republicans would be "partisan in the extreme."

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On the Nomination Of Patricia Millett, Nina Pillard, and Judge Robert Wilkins to the D.C. Circuit
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/04/13
“After the unjustified and partisan filibuster of Caitlin Halligan, I welcomed the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Sri Srinivasan to the D.C. Circuit two weeks ago. However, the three remaining vacancies in the D.C. Circuit must be filled so that the bench has a full complement of judges. The D.C. Circuit decides some of the most important cases in our nation, with significant impact on the lives of all Americans. “I applaud the president for nominating three impressive individuals for the vacancies on the D.C. Circuit, and I look forward to considering their nominations in the Judiciary Committee as soon as possible.”

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Correcting the Record
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/03/13
"Before the Senate went into recess, I was disappointed with statements made to the Senate that misstated the history of Judge Srinivasan’s confirmation process. The Senator who said that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee made “no effort, no effort” to have a hearing on Judge Srinivasan until late last year was misinformed. We made efforts in the fall before the election to schedule such a hearing and renewed our push to have a hearing on his nomination before the end of the session. I was accommodating Republican objections by not scheduling a hearing before the end of last year. ... Republicans were then in the process of filibustering a nominee to the Ninth Circuit from Arizona who was recommended by Jon Kyl of Arizona, a Republican Senator and member of their Senate leadership. Republicans were dragging out confirmations of judicial nominees who had been nominated in the fall of 2011 and the early months of 2012. They even filibustered a Tenth Circuit nominee from Oklahoma who had been supported by the Republican Senators from Oklahoma in what was the first filibuster of a circuit court nominee reported with bipartisan support by the Judiciary Committee. They filibustered a First Circuit nominee from Maine supported by the Republican Senators from Maine. In addition, Republicans had filibustered the earlier nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit. Anyone who needs to refresh their recollection of those months should reread my statements on judicial nominations from June 6, June 11, June 12, June 18, June 26, July 10, July 16, July 23, July 30, August 2, September 10, September 20, November 30, December 3, December 6, December 11, December 13, and December 17."

Sen. Leahy: Senate Votes To Confirm D.C. Circuit Court Nominee
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/23/13
“For the second time this year, the Majority Leader was forced to file cloture on one of President Obama’s well-qualified nominees to the D.C. Circuit,” Leahy said. “Sri Srinivasan is not a nominee who should require cloture to be filed, and neither was Caitlin Halligan.” ... Leahy further criticized the Republican legislation that attempts to strip the D.C. Circuit of three judgeships based on alleged caseload concerns. He pointed out that Republicans “had no concerns with supporting President Bush’s four Senate-confirmed nominees to the D.C. Circuit. Those nominees filled the very vacancies for the ninth, tenth, and even the eleventh judgeship on the court that Senate Republicans are demanding be eliminated now that President Obama has been reelected by the American people.” “The arguments now being made by Senate Republicans to eliminate three seats on the D.C. Circuit are not based in the reality of that court’s caseload,” he said. “Even if we do make these misleading comparisons to other Circuits, the arguments also do not withstand scrutiny, since other Circuits have caseloads that are lower than the D.C. Circuit’s. The D.C. Circuit’s need for judges will not be met by Sri Srinivasan alone. We must work hard to fill the three additional vacancies currently on that court so that the D.C. Circuit can have its full complement of judges to decide some of the most important cases to the American people.”

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Sri Srinivasan nomination and need to fill D.C. Circuit and other vacancies
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/23/13
"But, regrettably, even after their unwarranted filibuster of Caitlin Halligan, and even after their efforts to delay Sri Srinivasan's confirmation, Senate Republicans are expanding their efforts through a ``wholesale filibuster'' of nominations to the D.C. Circuit by introducing a legislative proposal to strip three judgeships from the D.C. Circuit.... they had no concerns with supporting President Bush's four Senate-confirmed nominees to the D.C. Circuit. They did this even though for the previous President--a Democrat--they said we had too many judges there. But as soon as a Republican came in they suddenly found the need and did confirm four judges to the D.C. Circuit. Those nominees filled the very vacancies for the 9th, 10th, and even the 11th judgeship on the court that Senate Republicans are demanding be eliminated now that President Obama has been reelected by the American people. In other words, filling those seats was okay with a Republican President but not okay with a Democratic President. ... What Senate Republicans do not mention is that Judge Silberman believed that 11 judgeships was the proper number on that Circuit, and that the notion that the D.C. Circuit should have only nine judges was ``quite farfetched.''... In its April 5, 2013 letter, the Judicial Conference of the United States, chaired by Chief Justice John Roberts, sent us recommendations ``based on our current caseload needs.'' They did not recommend stripping judgeships from the D.C. Circuit but state that they should continue at 11. ...Contrary to what Senate Republicans are arguing, the D.C. Circuit does not even have the lowest caseload in the country. The circuit with the lowest number of pending appeals per active judge is currently the Eighth Circuit, to which the Senate recently confirmed a nominee from Iowa, supported by the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. I do not recall seeing any bills from Senate Republicans to eliminate that seat."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statements on Delayed and Blocked Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/20/13
"For Judge Chappell in particular, this day is long overdue. She was nominated almost a year ago, and was one of the 11 nominees who Senate Republicans refused to vote on before the end of the last Congress. They delayed her confirmation even though she had the support of every single Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and the bipartisan support of her home state Senators, Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio. They delayed her confirmation even though she is nominated to fill a judicial emergency vacancy that has been vacant for over 400 days. When I say that President Obama's qualified, consensus nominees have faced unprecedented levels of delay and obstruction, this is precisely what I have been talking about.... Senate Republicans claim that they have blocked only two of President Obama's nominees, but they are not being fair in that characterization. They blocked nominees like Robert Chatigny and Louis Butler by refusing to allow the Senate to vote on them. They blocked nominees like Victoria Nourse, Arvo Mikkanen, and Elissa Cadish by refusing to return blue slips. They even blocked Steve Six by rescinding the blue slips after the nominee had already had a hearing."

Sen. Leahy: SJC Sends Three Judicial Nominees To Full Senate; Nominee To D.C. Circuit Approved Unanimously
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/16/13
Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) welcomed the Committee’s unanimous support of Srinivasan on Thursday, and called for the full Senate to quickly confirm the nomination. “I am glad we are moving forward with this fine nominee in a bipartisan way,” Leahy said, adding: “But the D.C. Circuit has three additional vacancies, and I look forward to filling those as well.” The Judiciary Committee on Thursday also approved on a 10-8 vote the nomination of Jennifer Dorsey, a Nevada district court nominee who has also been pending since last year. Raymond Chen, nominated to serve on the Federal Circuit, was approved on a voice vote. Following today’s action, twelve judicial nominees are now waiting full Senate consideration, including three who would fill emergency vacancies.

Sen. Leahy on Judicial Vacancies, Need for New Judgeships and Nomination of William Orrick, III To the United States District Court for the Northern District of California
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/15/13
"We are halfway through May, and the Senate has still not completed action on four of the 15 nominees who could and should have been confirmed last year. William Orrick, who the Senate will finally consider today, is one of those nominees. He has now been reported twice with bipartisan support, and he has spent over 225 days waiting for his final, Senate confirmation vote. ... Regretably, Senate Republicans have broken from our traditions and have taken to opposing judicial nominees based on those nominees’ efforts on behalf of clients. They did this when opposing nominees like Jeffrey Helmick, Paul Watford, and, most recently, Caitlin Halligan, and they are doing it, again, with William Orrick. They are opposing William Orrick because he worked on behalf of his client – the United States Government – on cases dealing with Federal preemption in immigration. ... Because Senate Republicans have delayed the confirmations of well-qualified nominees like William Orrick, we remain more than 20 confirmations behind the pace we set for President Bush’s circuit and district nominees, and vacancies remain nearly twice as high as they were at this point during President Bush’s second term. For all their self-congratulatory statements, they cannot refute the following: We are not even keeping up with attrition. Vacancies have increased, not decreased, since the start of this year. ... The Judicial Conference recently released their judgeship recommendations. Based upon the caseloads of our Federal courts, the Conference recommended the creation of 91 new judgeships. That is in addition to the 85 judgeships that are currently vacant. This means that the effective vacancy rate on the Federal bench is over 18 percent."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations and unprecedented delays and obstruction by Senate Republicans
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/09/13
"Senate Republicans who take such pride in the number of nominees being confirmed this year ignore how many were needlessly delayed from confirmation last year and what they have done during the last 4 years. That is why after the 14 confirmations this year, we remain more than 20 confirmations behind the pace we set for President Bush's circuit and district nominees, and vacancies remain nearly twice as high as they were at this point during President Bush's second term. For all their self-congratulatory statements, they cannot refute the following: We are not even keeping up with attrition. Vacancies have increased, not decreased, since the start of this year. President Obama's judicial nominees have faced unprecedented delays and obstruction by Senate Republicans. We have yet to finish the work that could and should have been completed last year. There are still a dozen judicial nominees with bipartisan support being denied confirmation. A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service compares the whole of President Obama's first term to the whole of President Bush's first term, and the contrast could not be more clear. ... It is true that some vacancies do not have nominees. I wish Republican home State Senators would work with President Obama to fill these vacancies. ... The Judicial Conference recently released their judgeship recommendations. Based upon the caseloads of our Federal courts, the conference recommended the creation of 91 new judgeships. That is in addition to the 86 judgeships that are currently vacant. This means that the effective vacancy rate on the Federal bench is over 18 percent. A vacancy rate this high is harmful to the individuals and businesses that depend on our courts for speedy justice."

Sen. Leahy: Senate Votes To Confirm Kelly To Eighth Circuit
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/24/13
On average President Obama’s circuit court nominees wait 132 days for a vote in the Senate, compared to just 18 days for President Bush’s nominees. While Kelly was quickly approved after pending one month on the Senate calendar, 12 other judicial nominees still await consideration, including four who were held over from last year. Leahy called on the Senate to vote on those nominees.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee On the Nominations of Analisa Torres and Derrick Watson
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/18/13
"Monday’s confirmation of Judge Beverly O’Connell marked the 150th confirmation of a Federal trial court nomination by President Obama. Thanks to Senate Republicans’ concerted effort to filibuster, obstruct and delay his moderate judicial nominees, it took almost one year longer to reach this milestone than it did when his Republican predecessor was serving as President, 10 months in fact.... Today, the Senate is being allowed to vote on just two of the 15 judicial nominees ready for confirmation. Ten of the judicial nominees confirmed this year could and should have been confirmed last year. There are still four judicial nominees in that category ... These systematic delays help explain why we remain more than 20 confirmations behind the pace we set with President Bush’s nominees.... Seventeen of the confirmations for which Senate Republicans now seek credit over the past two years should have been confirmed more than two years ago in the preceding Congress. That is when they allowed only 60 judicial confirmations to take place during President Obama’s first two years in office, the lowest total for a President in over 30 years. Indeed, during President Obama’s first year in office, Senate Republicans stalled all but 12 of his circuit and district nominees. That was the lowest one-year confirmation total since the Eisenhower administration, when the Federal bench was barely one-third the size it is today."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On [Grassley cut the D.C. Circuit bill &] the Nomination of Judge Beverly O’Connell
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/15/13
"In connection with the wrongheaded filibuster of the nomination of Caitlin Halligan, an outstanding nominee to the D.C. Circuit, I urged them to abandon their misguided efforts that sacrifice outstanding judges for purposes of partisan payback. Regrettably, their response seems to be to expand their efforts through a “wholesale filibuster” of nominations to the D.C. Circuit and a legislative proposal to strip three judgeships from the D.C. Circuit. ... they had no concerns with supporting President Bush’s four Senate-confirmed nominees to the D.C. Circuit. Those nominees filled the very vacancies for the ninth, tenth and even the eleventh judgeship on the court that Senate Republicans are demanding be eliminated now that President Obama has been reelected by the American people. ... It its April 5, 2013 letter, the Judicial Conference of the United States, chaired by Chief Justice John Roberts, sent us recommendations “based on our current caseload needs.” They do not recommend stripping judgeships from the D.C. Circuit but state that they should continue at 11. Four are currently vacant. According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, the caseload per active judge for the D.C. Circuit has actually increased by 50 percent since 2005, when the Senate confirmed President Bush’s nominee to fill the 11th seat on the D.C. Circuit. When the Senate confirmed Thomas Griffith – President Bush’s nominee to the 11th seat in 2005 – the confirmation resulted in there being approximately 119 pending cases per active D.C. Circuit judge. There are currently 188 pending cases for each active judge on the D.C. Circuit, more than 50 percent higher."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Obstruction of Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/15/13
" It is really incomprehensible that so many judgeships were forced to remain vacant for so long when there was no actual opposition to these consensus nominees. ... The fact is that we have these 15 nominees waiting for a vote. All Senate Democrats are prepared to vote on all of them today. Before Republicans take refuge in the number of vacancies without a nominee, they should be honest about their slow-walking the President on recommendations for nominees from their home States. For example, there are 24 emergency vacancies in States represented by Republican Senators. Over 40 percent of all judicial emergency vacancies are in just 3 States, each of which is represented by 2 Republican Senators. Those Senators should be working with the White House to fill those vacancies."

Sen. Leahy Statement on Srinivasan nomination and D.C. Circuit workload
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/10/13
"This is an important court that hears important cases. They are often complex cases, so raw caseload data does not fairly reflect the work of the judges on this Court. With respect to those caseload numbers, however, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts indicates that the D.C. Circuit has a caseload per active judge of 188 pending appeals. This is similar to the caseload per active judge on several other courts to which the Senate has already confirmed nominees this year, including the First, Third, and Tenth Circuits. It is also higher than the caseload per active judge when Senate Republicans moved forward to confirm President Bush’s nominations to the D.C. Circuit just a few years ago."

Sen. Leahy: Senate Votes To Confirm Shwartz To Third Circuit . . . Third Circuit Nominee Lagged For 13 Months Despite Support Of New Jersey Governor
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/09/13
A highly qualified nominee with the support of New Jersey’s Republican governor, Shwartz’s nomination was stalled for 13 months. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) welcomed the Senate’s vote of 64-34 to approve Shwartz’s nomination, but he noted that “This is another of the many judicial nominees who could have been confirmed last year.”

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Filibusters and Delays of Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/09/13
" Now that Senate Republicans have during the last 4 years filibustered more of President Obama's moderate judicial nominees than were filibustered during President Bush's entire 8 years--67 percent more, in fact--I urge them to abandon their misjudged efforts that sacrifice outstanding judges for purposes of partisan payback. Today the Senate will finally consider another circuit court nomination that has been delayed for no good reason. The nomination of Judge Patty Shwartz of New Jersey to the Third Circuit has been needlessly stalled for 13 months since being favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee. This is another of the many judicial nominees who could have been confirmed last year. She is another qualified nominee who is supported by her home state Senators and by the Republican Governor of New Jersey."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on JACKSON, MOORE, AND NUNLEY NOMINATIONS
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/08/13
"Of the 35 judicial emergency vacancies, 24 are in States with Republican Senators. In fact, close to half of all judicial emergency vacancies are in just three States, each of which is represented by two Republican Senators. Those Senators should be working with the White House to fill those vacancies. Even for judicial emergency vacancies in those three states that have a nominee, Republican Senators have not supported moving forward. So I encourage Republican Senators to work with the President to find good nominees for those important vacancies and to allow qualified nominees to move forward. ... For the last 4 years, Senate Republicans have consistently refused to consent to what used to be the routine consideration of consensus judicial nominees. That is why the Majority Leader has been forced to file cloture on 30 of President Obama's nominees, which is already over 65 percent more nominees than had cloture filed during the 8 years of the George W. Bush administration. Many of those nominees are then confirmed unanimously after months or even a year of waiting. There is no good reason the Senate cannot consider them more expeditiously. These deliberate delaying tactics hurt the Senate, our courts, and the American people."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee On the Nominations of Ketanji Jackson, Raymond Moore, and Troy Nunley
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/23/13
"Regrettably, qualified, consensus nominees are being delayed, even nominees who are supported by home state Republican Senators. ... After today’s votes, there are still another 15 judicial nominees pending before the Senate. All of these nominees had to be renominated after being returned at the end of the last Congress. It is unusual to have such a backlog so early in a Congress, and this is the result of Senate Republicans’ refusal to allow votes on 11 nominees at the end of last year, including Judge Nunley, and their refusal to consider another four, which included the D.C. district court nominee being confirmed today, who had hearings and could have been expedited. We have yet to work our way through the nominees who were available for Senate consideration and confirmation last year."

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Comment On the Withdrawal of the Nomination Of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/22/13
“Caitlin Halligan is a woman who is extraordinarily well-qualified and amongst the most qualified judicial nominees I have seen from any administration. It is a shame that narrow, special interests hold such influence that Senate Republicans for two years blocked an up-or-down vote on her confirmation. Had she received an up-or-down vote, I am certain she would have been confirmed and been an outstanding judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.”

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/19/13
"I expect that at our next hearing, which will be after the recess, we will finally be able to proceed with the nomination of Sri Srinivasan, who is nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. His hearing has been delayed from our first hearing this year to accommodate demands from the other side of the aisle to obtain information from the Department of Justice to assess whether Mr. Srinivasan had any role in the legal issues being discussed between the Department and the City of St. Paul. Of course, if Senators still have questions or concerns about his actions, they can ask Mr. Srinivasan directly at his hearing."

Senator Leahy On Nominations of Richard Taranto and Andrew Gordon
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/11/13
"Senate Republicans attacked Caitlin Halligan’s advocacy on behalf of her client, the State of New York, with which they disagree. It is wrong and dangerous to attribute the legal positions a lawyer takes when advocating for a client with what that person would do as an impartial judge. That is wrong and not the American tradition. That is not what Republicans insisted was the standard for nominees of Republican Presidents. In a March 10 article entitled “As Obama, Senate Collide, Courts Caught Short,” The Boston Globe reported over the weekend about the stranglehold Senate Republicans have placed on nominations to fill vacancies on the D.C. Circuit. The Court is now more than one third vacant with four vacancies among its 11 authorized judgeships, in what the Globe noted is “the worst vacancy rate in its history and higher than any other federal circuit court nationwide.” ...These are only two of the 20 judicial nominations currently ready for Senate consideration and confirmation. Both of these nominees should have been considered and confirmed last year. All of the 20 nominees now ready for final action had to be renominated this year after being returned at the end of the last Congress. The Senate should act swiftly to let these nominees get to work on behalf of the American people."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Caitlin Halligan Nomination and Filibuster
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/06/13
"By any traditional standard, Caitlin Halligan is the kind of superbly qualified nominee who should be considered and confirmed by the Senate. The Republican leadership's filibuster of this nomination threatens to set a new standard that could not be met by anyone. That is wrong, it is unjustified, and it is dangerous. It takes only a handful of sensible Senate Republicans to do the right thing. This is not a time to victimize Caitlin Halligan for some sort of political payback or to appeal to narrow special interests. ... A Republican Senator, who was a member of the ``Gang of 14'' in 2005, described his view of what comprises the ``extraordinary circumstances'' justifying a filibuster. He said: ``Ideological attacks are not an extraordinary circumstance.' To me, it would have to be a character problem, an ethics problem, so allegations about the qualifications of a person, not an ideological bent.'' Caitlin Halligan has no ``character problem,'' no ``ethics problem,'' and there is no justification for this filibuster. I trust that Senator will apply the standard he articulated and vote to end this filibuster. Another Republican Senator said just last year in voting to end a filibuster against another circuit court nominee: [W]hen I became a Senator, Democrats were blocking an up-or-down vote on President Bush's judicial nominees. I said then that I would not do that and did not like doing that. I have held to that in almost every case since then. I believe nominees for circuit judges, in all but extraordinary cases, and district judges in every case ought to have an up-or-down vote by the Senate. If that Senator remains true to his principles, he will vote to end this filibuster. Republican Senators who signed that 2005 memorandum of understanding continue to serve here in the Senate. If they follow the standard set in that agreement, they will vote to end this filibuster. ... I urge all those who have said that filibusters of judicial nominations are unconstitutional to end this filibuster. I urge those who said they would never support a filibuster of a judicial nomination to end this filibuster. I urge those who said that they would only filibuster in ``extraordinary circumstances'' to end this filibuster. I urge all those who care about the judiciary, the administration of justice, the Senate and the American people to come forward and end this filibuster."

Sen. Leahy: Republicans Block Highly Qualified Circuit Court Nominee . . . Partisan Blockade Leaves D.C. Circuit With Gaping Vacancies
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/06/13
“Republican Senators who were part of the Gang of 14 just a few years ago, others who said they would never filibuster a judicial nominee, those who said that they would only filibuster in extraordinary circumstances, and all those who insisted on pushing through President Bush’s most extreme ideological nominees have now all reversed themselves to the detriment of the courts and the country,” Leahy said. “Rather than debate the merits of her nomination and whether she has the legal ability, judgment, character, ethics, and temperament to serve on the court, Senate Republicans resorted to smearing her distinguished record of service and continued to raise a disingenuous argument about the D.C. Circuit’s caseload not being sufficiently heavy to justify another judge on the court,” Leahy said of Halligan’s nomination. He concluded: “They have not been fair to this fine woman. I thank Senator Murkowski for remaining true to her principles and who distinguishes herself by doing so.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Should Confirm Highly Qualified D.C. Circuit Court Nominee . . . Halligan Would Fill Vacancy Left Open Since 2006
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/05/13
“After being nominated and renominated four times over the course of the last three years, it is time for the Senate to accord this outstanding woman the debate and vote on the merits that she deserves,” Leahy said on the floor, noting the court’s high number of vacancies and expanding caseload. “There are now four vacancies on the D.C. Circuit, the vacancies have doubled during the last two years, the bench is more than one-third empty,” Leahy added. “This is reason enough for Senators to reconsider their previous vote and end this filibuster.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nominations of Pamela Chen and Katherine Failla [and Caitlin Halligan]
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/04/13
"Over the past four years, unprecedented obstruction by Senate Republicans has meant that all judicial nominees have become wrapped around the axle of partisanship. ... Senate Republicans have also claimed that President Bush had only 74 percent of his nominees confirmed during his first term. This is also not true. President Bush nominated 231 men and women to serve as circuit and district judges, of them 205 were confirmed. That is a confirmation rate of 89 percent. During President Obama’s first term, only 173 district and circuit judges were confirmed, and a much lower percentage. ... there is no reason to delay further the confirmation of Caitlin Halligan, whose nomination to the D.C. Circuit was first reported nearly two years ago. Senate Republicans justified their filibuster of her nomination a year ago by arguing that the Circuit did not need another judge. Since that time, the number of vacancies on that court has doubled, and it is now more than one-third vacant. It needs Caitlin Halligan. She is the kind of moderate, superbly qualified nominee who should easily be able to be confirmed under any standard by which the Senate has considered judicial nominees in the past. It is well past time to walk back from the precipice marked by the wrongheaded filibuster of Ms. Halligan. The continued filibuster of her nomination does harm to the Senate, to the important D.C. Circuit, and to the American people. ... . For the judicial vacancies in states with two Republican Senators, just 11 percent have a nominee. I urge Senate Republicans to do a better job providing consensus recommendations"

Sen. Leahy: Republicans Reverse Position, Vote Unanimously To Support Bacharach Nomination . . . GOP Previously Voted To Filibuster Consensus Judicial Pick
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/25/13
“Persistent vacancies force fewer judges to take on growing caseloads, and make it harder for Americans to have access to speedy justice,” Leahy said in a statement for the record. “While Senate Republicans delayed and obstructed, the number of judicial vacancies remained historically high and it has become more difficult for our courts to provide speedy, quality justice for the American people.”

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Robert Bacharach, Caitlin Halligan and Unprecedented Obstruction of Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/25/13
"The filibuster of his nomination, which was supported by the Oklahoma Senators who had previously supported the nomination and who will likely reverse themselves again and support confirmation today, was the ne plus ultra of an unprecedented campaign of obstruction Senate Republicans have waged against President Obama's judicial nominees. ... I have not heard a single negative word about him. There is no Senator who opposed his nomination on the merits. He was praised extensively by his home State Senators.... Judge Bacharach is the first circuit court nominee to be filibustered who had received bipartisan support before the Judiciary Committee. Senator Coburn was quoted last year admitting: ``There's no reason why he shouldn't be confirmed.'' There was none other than the obstruction of Senate Republicans.... Senate Republicans have also forced the Majority Leader to file cloture on 30 nominees, which is already in 4 years 50 percent more nominees than had cloture filed during President Bush's eight years in office. Almost all of these 30 nominations were noncontroversial and were ultimately confirmed overwhelmingly. Fewer than 80 percent of President Obama's judicial nominees have been confirmed compared to almost 90 percent of President George W. Bush's nominees at this point in their Presidencies. The record is clear: Senate Republicans have engaged in an unprecedented effort to obstruct President Obama's judicial nominations....The longest pending of these nominations is that of Caitlin Halligan, who the President first nominated to the D.C. Circuit back in 2010. At that time, there were already two vacancies on that court, a number which has now doubled to four. The purported justification for the partisan Republican filibuster of the Halligan nomination was that the circuit did not need another judge. The circuit is now more than one-third vacant and needs several, including Caitlin Halligan."

Sen. Leahy: SJC Sends 13 Judicial Nominees To Full Senate
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/14/13
“So far during President Obama’s first four years in office and as far into the future as we can see there have never been less than 60 vacancies, and for much of that time many, many more,” Leahy said. “This is a prescription for overburdened courts and a Federal justice system that does not serve the interests of the American people.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Votes To Confirm First Judicial Nominee This Year; Kayatta’s Nomination Has Lagged For Ten Months
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/13/13
“While it is good that William Kayatta will finally receive a vote today, it is also well past time for the Senate to vote on Robert Bacharach and Richard Taranto,” Leahy said, noting that two more circuit court nominees are awaiting Senate action. “Perpetuating these vacancies on the Tenth and Federal Circuits, and preventing Judge Bacharach and Mr. Taranto from getting to work on behalf of the American people, does not benefit anyone. ... I hope that this year and over the coming four years, Senate Republicans will end their misguided and harmful obstruction and work with us in a bipartisan manner to do what is right for the country,” Leahy said. “President Obama has nominated qualified, mainstream lawyers, and the Senate should consider them in regular order, without unnecessary delays. That is what we had done for as long as I have served in the Senate, whether the nominations came from a Democratic or a Republican president. We should work together to restore and uphold the best traditions of the Senate.”

Statement of Chairman Patrick Leahy
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/07/13
"This morning we have 16 of the President’s nominees on the agenda for consideration. I hope we can make real progress. I have sought to respect home state Senators, Democrats and Republicans, with respect to judicial nominees within their states. I appreciate Senator Collins’ support for the Kayatta nomination, for example. In fact both home state Senators for all of the judicial nominees on the agenda have indicated their support. We can act on all of these nominations today without further delay."