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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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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."

(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."

Sen. Leahy: Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Three Circuit Court Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/07/13
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved on Thursday three circuit court nominees who were held over from last year. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the committee’s action, and called for the full Senate to quickly consider these qualified nominees. “I have sought to respect home state Senators, Democrats and Republicans, with respect to judicial nominees within their states,” Leahy said. “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.”

Sen. Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/23/13
"At a time when judicial vacancies remain damagingly high, we should be acting swiftly to consider and confirm qualified nominees.... judicial vacancies have risen to 83 ... When President Obama began his first term judicial vacancies numbered 55....This is in sharp contrast to the way in which Senate Democrats cooperated in reducing judicial vacancies during President Bush’s first term from over 110 down to 28....Senate Republicans balked and, instead, sent 15 nominees who had completed their hearings back to the White House without final action. President Obama is the first President in decades who ended his first term with more vacancies than when it began, and the first since Woodrow Wilson to complete a full first term without having a nominee to the D.C. Circuit confirmed.... The D.C. Circuit will soon have four vacancies among its reduced, 11-member panel.... The 83 vacancies on our Federal bench at the start of President Obama’s second term is 40 percent higher than the highest number of vacancies that existed during President Bush’s second term. We should be working together to fill these vacancies so that the American people have timely access to justice."

Address By Senator Leahy On "The Agenda Of The Senate Judiciary Committee For The 113th Congress"
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/16/13
"Like Chief Justice Roberts, I believe the extraordinarily high number of extended judicial vacancies has to end. The Judiciary Committee will continue to work to fill these vacancies, many unnecessarily perpetuated, which threaten our justice system."

Chairman Leahy Address on Judiciary Committee Agenda [C-SPAN]
(Democrat - Vermont) 01/16/13
“Those who would block judges from coming up even for a vote – I'll say this: Vote yes, or vote no, but when you block them, you're voting maybe. What. An. Irresponsible. Lazy. Thing. To. Do. ... Dozens and dozens and dozens of judicial nominees get held for month after month after month. You know, they've been nominated, they've gone through the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously – basically having to shut down their law practice because they're going to become a federal judge – and then for months and months and months they're in this limbo because we can't bring it to a vote. And then when we finally do bring it to a vote, they get 95 votes, 98 votes, out of 100. No. This is allowing people to vote "maybe," not yes or no. If you really feel strongly about an issue, sure, come on the floor our rules allow you to debate it. But on some of these things – on most of these things – I don't find anybody who feels that strongly about it they're willing to stand up and explain to the American public on C-Span and in the Congressional Record "here's why I'm opposing it," because usually their reasons do not stand the light of day.”

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Chief Justice Roberts’ Year-End Report On The Federal Judiciary
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/31/12
“I echo the Chief Justice’s call for the appointment of qualified judges to fill vacancies in courts throughout the country. Judges play a vital role in our democracy, and languishing vacancies on our courts only threatens the efficiency and effectiveness of that cherished system. In addition to the 27 judicial emergencies that the Chief Justice mentioned, there are scores of other unfilled vacancies on our federal courts. In fact, there are more judicial vacancies now – 75 – than when President Obama was sworn into office four years ago. The nominations of too many qualified judicial nominees have needlessly languished on the Senate calendar, in this Congress, and in the last. As we conclude the session, there are 15 nominees who, having had committee hearings, can and should be confirmed now, not next year. This backlog only puts us further behind next year, and at a time when the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts recommends growing the number of judicial seats nationwide. I hope both the President and both Democrats and Republicans heed Chief Justice Roberts’s call to, as he said in his annual report, ‘act diligently in nominating and confirming highly qualified candidates to fill those vacancies.’ “As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I stand ready to work with members of both parties to address the needs of our Federal courts including advocating for needed resources and pushing for Senate votes on qualified nominees.”

Sen. Leahy Congressional Record Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/21/12
"Senate Republicans have chosen to depart dramatically from Senate traditions in their efforts to delay and obstruct President Obama's judicial nominations. For example, until 2009, Senators deferred to the President and to home State Senators on district court nominees. During the 8 years that George W. Bush served as President, only 5 of his district court nominees received any opposition on the floor. In just 4 years, Senate Republicans have voted against 39 of President Obama's district court nominees, and the Majority Leader has been forced to file cloture on 20 of them. ... When Senate Democrats filibustered President Bush's controversial circuit court nominees, it was over substantive concerns about the nominees' records and Republicans' disregard for the rights of Democratic Senators. When we opposed Janice Rogers Brown, it was because of her long record on the California Supreme Court of deciding cases based on extreme views, and having argued that Social Security was unconstitutional. When we opposed Priscilla Owen, it was because her rulings on the Texas Supreme Court were so extreme that they drew the condemnation of even the conservative judges on that court. On the other hand, Senate Republicans have filibustered and delayed nearly all of President Obama's circuit court nominees even when those nominees have the support of their Republican home State Senators. Take the examples of Judge Robert Bacharach and William Kayatta, two consensus circuit nominees who have the support of their Republican home State Senators. ... neither of these nominees faces any real Republican opposition. ... After today's vote, there will still be 11 judicial nominees on the Senate Executive Calendar, 6 of whom were voted out of the Judiciary Committee before the August recess. There is no reason why we cannot confirm all of them today. I have also been urging Republicans to expedite consideration of the 4 judicial nominees who participated in hearings last Wednesday. That would lead to 11 more confirmations before the Senate adjourns to help address the judicial vacancies that currently exist in our Federal courts."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Nominations of Fernando Olguin and Thomas Durkin
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/17/12
"More than twice the number of judicial vacancies exists compared to the vacancies left at the end of President Bush’s first term. The Senate should be voting on all 16 of the judicial nominees reported to the Senate by the Judiciary Committee. I have also been urging Republicans to expedite consideration of the four judicial nominees who participated in hearings last Wednesday. That would lead to 20 more confirmations before the Senate adjourns later this month. Historically, the Senate has confirmed hundreds of judicial nominees within 14 days of their Judiciary Committee hearings, including more than 600 confirmed since World War II within just one week of their hearings. In contrast, obstruction by Senate Republicans has caused President Obama’s district court nominees to wait an average of 103 days for a Senate vote after being reported by the Judiciary Committee... . Senate Republicans are holding up is that of Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma to the Tenth Circuit, who they filibustered earlier this year. Senator Coburn, one of his home state Senators, said: “He has no opposition in the Senate. . . . There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be confirmed.” That also applies to Richard Taranto, who was reported more than eight months ago to a vacancy on the Federal Circuit. That applies to William Kayatta of Maine, who was reported nearly eight months ago and has the support of his two home state Republican Senators."

Senate Approves Two District Court Nominees, 16 Judicial Nominees Awaiting Consideration
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/13/12
Sen. Leahy: “The judges whose confirmations Senate Republicans are delaying are not nominees they will oppose on the merits. They are by and large consensus nominees.”

Sen. Leahy: The Senate Must Clear The Nominations Backlog
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/12/12
In a statement for the record at Wednesday’s hearing, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) observed that the Senate remains far behind the pace set in earlier administrations in confirming judicial nominees, particularly those nominated to circuit court seats. As of Wednesday, 18 judicial nominees remain pending on the Senate calendar, including 11 that would fill emergency vacancies. Of the 18 nominations pending on the Senate floor, four circuit court nominees were reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee before the August recess. Leahy has urged the Senate to clear the backlog of nominations before the Congress adjourns later this month. “We will not begin to approach the 205 confirmations we achieved during President Bush’s first term by the end of this President’s first term nor will we reduce vacancies significantly,” Leahy said in a statement. “President Obama may be the first President to end his first term with higher judicial vacancies – due solely to obstruction – than when he became President. This is bad for our Federal courts and for the American people who depend on them for justice.” ... “It is past time to confirm this nominee,” Leahy said. “Now that Senator Vitter has indicated, after an eight-month delay, that he supports the nomination, we should expedite Senate consideration.”

Sen. Leahy Statement at Judicial Nominations Hearing
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/12/12
"Despite my solicitousness, our Republican members would not agree to move forward with the nomination of Srikanth Srinivasan to the D.C. Circuit. His nomination was received last June and I would have liked to have proceeded with his hearing without further delay. Since there will soon be four vacancies on this important court, it makes no sense to me for us to wait-especially in light of the Republican filibuster of the President's earlier nominee to this Circuit. I appreciate that the Republicans members have agreed that they will be ready to proceed on that nomination at our first confirmation hearing next month, in January of the new Congress. Regrettably, Senate Republicans continue their practice of requiring the Senate to extend consideration of nominees over two years."

Sen. Leahy: The Senate Must Consider All Pending Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 12/11/12
“Both of these nominees were voted out of the Judiciary Committee by voice vote before the August recess and should have been confirmed months ago,” Leahy said of John Dowdell, nominated to a district court seat in Oklahoma and Jesus Bernal, nominated to a district court seat in California. “These confirmations today will demonstrate that there was no good reason for the delay—just more partisan delay for delay’s sake.” Bernal’s confirmation fills one of 34 emergency vacancies throughout the country. Of the 13 pending district court nominees on the Senate calendar, 11 would fill emergency vacancy seats. The four circuit court nominees have been pending as far back as March, and two of those, William Kayatta of Maine and Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma, enjoy the support of their Republican home state Senators. “With the American people’s reelection of President Obama there is no good purpose to be served by this further delay,” Leahy said. “But Robert Bacharach and nearly a dozen judicial nominees, who could be confirmed and who would fill four circuit court vacancies and five additional judicial emergency vacancies, are being forced to wait until next year – or perhaps forever – by the Senate Republican leadership.”