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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy Statement at Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/06/14
"We have three judicial nominations and one executive nomination listed on our agenda. All were held over last week, and I hope that they can be reported to the Senate today by the Committee."

Sen. Leahy: SJC Continues Its Work
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/06/14
"The Committee also approved three judicial nominations on Thursday including one nominee, Robin Rosenbaum, who would fill an emergency vacancy on the 11th Circuit. The Committee also approved the nomination of Leslie Caldwell to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice."

Sen. Leahy: SJC Approves Six Judicial Nominees To Fill Emergency Vacancies
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/27/14
“Federal district court judges handle the vast majority of the caseload of the Federal courts and are critical to making sure our courts remain available to provide a fair hearing for all Americans,” Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said. “I expect that this diverse group of judicial nominees will be confirmed now that they have been reported out of Committee and have the support of their home state Senators. The progress we made today in the committee to move these nominations forward would not have occurred without the support of Senator McCain and Senator Flake. I thank them for their support today and I hope the Senate quickly confirms these nominees who are urgently needed in the state of Arizona.”

Sen. Leahy on blue slips, hearings, and pending Georgia and Arizona federal judicial nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/27/14
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who leads the committee, said he intended to schedule confirmation hearings once the necessary reports were in hand. “If the president sends up a nominee, they ought to at least get a hearing, and we will see where we go from there,” said Mr. Leahy, who said he has made no decision on the nominations. “I am not committed one way or the other,” he said. “The deal is with the president, not me.” ... “We could do away with the blue slip tomorrow, and it would not change a thing,” Mr. Leahy said. “Nominees opposed by home-state senators will not get through.” Mr. Leahy said while the negotiations might be difficult, they could produce results as in the case of six Arizona judicial nominees approved Thursday by the Judiciary Committee after an agreement between the administration and Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Chairman Leahy statement at Senate Judiciary Executive Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/27/14
"We have nine judicial nominees and one executive nominee on today’s agenda. The six Arizona district court nominees to fill judicial emergency vacancies are ready to be reported out. One of these Arizona nominees will become the first Native American woman ever to serve on the Federal bench and another is a Latina who was nominated more than two years ago. I am glad we will make progress on them today and look forward to their confirmation votes. I thank Senators McCain and Flake for their work. I understand that the Republicans want to hold over the other nominees today. I expect we will report them out next week."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on James Donato district court nomination and emergency vacancies
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/25/14
"I have heard from my friends on the Republican side that we should be concerned about emergency vacancies. This is an emergency vacancy. He was reported out unanimously for the first time last October. He had to be reported out a second time this year--again, unanimously. He has the strong support of the two Senators from California. So holding up and having a filibuster and going through all of that on this nomination is the kind of game playing that hurts the Federal judiciary. It is almost like the efforts made by our friends on the other side in closing down the government last year, and this is just a slow way to close down the Federal judiciary."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on pending judicial nominees and vacancies
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/25/14
"I would like to thank the majority leader and the Democratic floor staff for taking the necessary steps to confirm the four judicial nominees we have just confirmed between last night and today. I am sure the people in Connecticut, Arkansas, and California are thankful that their districts now have judges to help alleviate the heavy caseload in those districts and that they will now be able to have their cases decided in a more expeditious manner. There are 28 more judicial nominees still currently pending on the Executive Calendar in States such as Tennessee, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, and Wisconsin. I hope Senate Republicans will not continue to politicize the filling of judicial vacancies. Americans in those States want a functioning Federal judiciary at full capacity so they can seek and obtain justice in an expeditious manner."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Republican filibusters of judicial nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/24/14
"I have heard more pettifoggery and balderdash on the other side this evening than I could imagine. The fact of the matter is this. The Republican Party--and many of them are dear friends of mine--orchestrated a partial shutdown of the government last year. It cost the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars and ... stopped cancer research and a number of other things. Now they are trying the same thing with the Federal judiciary by taking judges who had passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and doing what the Republicans did with the very first nominee of President Obama who came up. They filibustered it--something that had not been done ever in my 40 years here with either Republican or Democratic presidents--ever. This was a judge supported by the most senior Republican in the Senate. Shortly after that, the Republican leader said his primary goal was for President Obama to fail. Unfortunately for them, he didn't. He was reelected resoundingly. But they have now achieved a partial shutdown of the Federal judiciary by blocking these judges. It is balderdash and pettifoggery."

Floor Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/24/14
". Because of Republican obstruction we are again wasting precious time to overcome procedural hurdles just to have an up-or-down vote on these worthy nominees. I began the year expressing my hope that we would set aside our differences and do what is best for this country by confirming qualified nominees to fill critical vacancies facing our Federal Judiciary. Instead, it appears that Senate Republicans have decided to double down and to further exhaust every means of delay at their disposal, even when a nominee is supported by those on both sides of the aisle and supported by both home state senators. ... This is the case even though there are currently 96 judicial vacancies, 39 of which have been deemed emergency vacancies by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. In stark contrast, there were only 56 judicial vacancies at the same point in President Bush’s tenure. The comparison is even more troubling when you consider the 32 judicial nominees currently pending on the Executive Calendar. We could lower the number of judicial vacancies today to 64 if Senate Republicans would consent to voting on the pending nominees. We have not had fewer than 70 vacancies since May 2009, more than 4 years ago."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on James M. Moody, Jr. district court nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/24/14
"[T]his is just one more of those judges who passed unanimously from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Every Republican, every Democrat voted for him. He has been held up and delayed by Republicans who, I am afraid, are trying to do the same to the Federal judiciary they did to the Federal Government by closing it down."

Sen. Leahy: Nominees To Top DOJ Posts Approved By Senate Judiciary Committee . . . Three Judicial Nominees Also Approved During Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/06/14
Three judicial nominations to district court seats in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Illinois were also approved during Thursday’s executive business meeting.

Sen. Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Statement, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/30/14
"Today, we have just five nominations on the agenda – three judicial nominations and two executive nominations. All are listed on the agenda for the first time, and I understand Republicans may seek to have them held over until next week."

Sens. Leahy And Sanders Announce Merit Commission To Screen Candidates For Vermont’s Upcoming Federal Judicial Vacancy
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/24/14
Leahy said, “Through his years of service to Vermont and the nation, Judge Sessions has set a high standard for fairness and integrity. We want to continue Vermont’s tradition of outstanding jurists who are well-grounded in our community. Judicial selection commissions are not required and take some extra effort, but I have long believed that they work well in finding good candidates.” Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now also President Pro Tempore of the Senate, added: “Our commission structure also sets a good example for other states. It has worked well in Vermont, and I have seen it work well elsewhere. I want to continue this tradition in Vermont to help ensure that our state has a full complement of highly qualified judges on the federal bench. I thank our commissioners for donating their time, their knowledge, their insight and their patience in helping to make this possible.”

Sen. Leahy: SJC Sends 30 Nominees To Full Senate
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/16/14
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved 30 judicial and executive nominees, including 10 nominees the Committee approved last year and 8 who would fill judicial emergencies. The Committee’s action today comes as 94 judicial vacancies throughout the country prevent the courts from operating at full strength. The Senate failed at the end of last year to confirm dozens of judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee and on the floor, who were returned to the White House because of Republican delay tactics.

Sen. Leahy: Senate Confirms Wilkins To The D.C. Circuit
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/14/14
“As we begin 2014, I hope we can set aside our differences and do what is best for this country by confirming qualified nominees to fill critical vacancies facing our Federal Judiciary,” Leahy said in a statement, referencing the record high number of judicial vacancies across the country. Leahy called Wilkins “an outstanding nominee,” who with his confirmation today, becomes just the sixth African American in history to serve on the powerful D.C. Circuit. “Despite the progress made in the past several decades, the struggle to diversify our Federal bench continues,” Leahy said. “I am proud to support the nomination of Judge Wilkins today and to support other highly qualified nominees whose diverse personal and professional background help further enrich the judiciary.”

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/13/14
"Once Judge Wilkins is confirmed, the DC Circuit, which is often considered to be the second most important court in the Nation, will finally be operating at full strength. The American people deserve no less....Despite the progress made in the past several decades, the struggle to diversify our Federal bench continues. When confirmed, Judge Wilkins will be only the sixth African American to have ever served on the DC Circuit."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Robert Wilkins
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/09/14
"As we begin 2014, I hope we can set aside our differences and do what is best for this country by confirming qualified nominees to fill critical vacancies facing our Federal Judiciary. We can do this today by voting to end the filibuster of Judge Robert Wilkins, who has been nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. ... Another threat facing our courts which is unaddressed in the Chief’s year-end report are the continuing vacancies experienced by the Federal courts. Over the last year, the number of vacancies has hovered around 90 because obstruction in Congress has led to filibuster after filibuster of qualified nominees. And the unfortunate action taken by Republicans at the end of the first session of this Congress will only mean further delay in filling these vacancies—Republicans, for the first time ever, refused to allow any currently pending judicial nominees to be held over so that they could be ready for immediate action this year. For purely political reasons, Senate Republicans are forcing us to duplicate work this year that we already completed in 2013."

Sen. Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Statement at Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/09/14
"Today, we have 36 nominees on the agenda—29 judicial and 7 executive nominees. I understand that we will hold over all of the judicial nominations and one executive nominee ... I hope that the new year brings renewed cooperation among Committee members."

Comment Of SJC Chairman Leahy On Chief Justice Roberts' Year-End Report On The Federal Judiciary
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/31/13
“One threat facing our courts which is unaddressed in the Chief's year-end report are the continuing vacancies plaguing the Federal courts. This year, the number of vacancies has hovered around 90 because obstruction in Congress has led to filibuster after filibuster of qualified nominees. We must not take for granted that we have the greatest justice system in the world, and ensuring this continues requires the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Block Nine Judicial Nominees From Confirmation
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/20/13
“Republicans are once again—for the fifth year in a row—rejecting the longstanding Senate practice of scheduling confirmation votes on consensus nominees before the end of the session,” Leahy said. “The result is that we will spend a significant portion of the next year on the Senate floor doing work that should have been completed this year.” A total of 55 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee and on the floor will be returned to the White House because of Republican delay tactics, Leahy said, including recent obstruction of the Committee even meeting to consider nominees. Leahy noted that the Senate confirmed on Friday Brian Davis to a district court seat in Florida. Davis’s nomination lagged for 660 days. Judge Robert Wilkins, a nominee to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, will be considered early next year. “As we approach the new year, I hope that reasonable Republicans will join us in restoring the Senate’s ability to fulfill its constitutional duties and do its work for the American people,” he said.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy Statement at Dec. 19th Committee Exec Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/19/13
"Yet, for the last three weeks, the minority has prevented us from doing our work. Today, we have 18 nominees on the agenda—15 judicial and 3 executive nominees."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Republican Opposition To Judicial Confirmation Hearing On Consensus Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/18/13
“The Republican shutdown of the Judiciary Committee is consistent with the obstruction we have witnessed over the last five years, which has led to record high vacancies in federal courts throughout the country. Home state Senators were consulted with respect to the nominees scheduled to appear before the Committee today who, when confirmed, will fill vacancies in California, Maine and Maryland, and an emergency vacancy in Kansas. The families of these nominees invested time and personal expense to travel to Washington for this hearing, losses they will never recover. This escalating obstruction undermines the Senate’s constitutional responsibility of advice and consent. “Just last week, Republicans prevented the Judiciary Committee from holding an executive business meeting to consider 18 highly qualified nominees, including two Texas U.S. Marshals. Those two nominees should have been approved by the Committee last month, but Republicans failed to attend the meeting to report their nominations. As Chairman of the Judiciary Com­mittee, I have consistently shown my commitment to work with all Senators to process nominations. This obstruction sets back the bipartisan cooperation we have seen in recent weeks on such legislative matters as the budget, the defense authorization bill, and the Farm Bill. If this obstruction continues with respect to judicial nominees, I will be forced to reconsider long-held policies that have upheld the rights of the minority party in this process.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Confirms Pillard To The D.C. Circuit Court
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/12/13
“Despite having filled nearly half of law school classrooms for the last 20 years, women are grossly underrepresented on our Federal courts. We need women on the Federal bench,” Leahy said. “The Senate moved another step forward in that effort by voting to confirm Nina Pillard, one of several highly qualified women nominated by President Obama like Patricia Millett, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. I am proud to support such incredible nominees, and I applaud the Senate for voting to confirm Nina Pillard.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Moves Closer To Filling Vacancies On D.C. Circuit; Pillard Poised To Be Confirmed To 10th Seat
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/10/13
“The D.C. Circuit is often considered to be the second most important court in the Nation and should be operating at full strength,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement. “Today we will take a step toward making this Court operate at full strength for the American people.”

Sen. Leahy: Senate Confirms Millett To The D.C. Circuit Court
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/10/13
"John Roberts was confirmed unanimously to the D.C. Circuit on the day the Judiciary Committee completed consideration of his nomination and reported it to the Senate—at a time when the caseload of the D.C. Circuit by any measure was lower than it is today. If only Senate Republicans had been willing to apply the same standard for Ms. Millett. Instead, they decided to filibuster her nomination even though they had promised to only filibuster nominations under “extraordinary circumstances.” If those Senators had been true to their word, I do not believe we would have reached the tipping point on the use of the filibuster. By refusing to allow a vote for any existing vacancy on the D.C. Circuit, Republicans took their determined obstruction to an unprecedented level.... Now that the Senate has changed its precedents to overcome the escalating obstruction of some, I hope reasonable Republicans will join us in restoring the Senate’s ability to fulfill its constitutional duties."

Sen. Leahy on home-state Senator blue-slip process
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/27/13
"I assume no one will abuse the blue slip process like some have abused the use of the filibuster to block judicial nominees on the floor of the Senate," Leahy said. "As long as the blue slip process is not being abused by home state senators, then I will see no reason to change that tradition."

Leahy Supports Change In Senate Rules To Address Unprecedented Filibusters: “As a result of Republican obstruction of nominees, the Senate has failed to do its job for the courts and for the American people”
(Democrat - Vermont) 11/21/13
In recent weeks, Senate Republicans have blocked three highly qualified nominees to serve on the D.C. Circuit. Since 2009, 14 circuit court nominees have been filibustered, and Senate Republicans have forced cloture to end filibusters on nearly three dozen of President Obama’s judicial nominees. Meanwhile, federal judicial vacancies have consistently hovered around 90. The obstruction, Leahy said, “is damaging our ability to fulfill the Senate’s unique constitutional responsibility of advice and consent to ensure that the judicial branch has the judges it needs to do its job.” ... "I have always looked skeptically at efforts to change the Senate rules.” Today, Leahy said, the Senate “is faced with what to do to overcome this abuse and what action we should take to restore this body’s ability to fulfill its constitutional duties and do its work for the American people.”