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Sen. Leahy Calls On Senate To Take Up Circuit Court Nominee
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/30/12
Leahy called on his Senate colleagues to drop their partisan opposition and allow Bacharach’s nomination to be considered. “The American people need to understand that Senate Republicans are stalling and filibustering judicial nominees supported by their home state Republican Senators,” Leahy said in a statement. “What they are doing now is a first. As I have noted, no circuit court nominee reported with the bipartisan support of the Judiciary Committee has ever been successfully filibustered.”

Sen. Leahy Urges Confirmation Of Long-Pending District Court Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/23/12
Press Release & Statement: “There is no good reason that the Senate should not vote on consensus nominees like Judge Shipp and more than a dozen other consensus judicial nominees to fill Federal trial court,” said Leahy. “I wish that the Senate would confirm the 21 judicial nominees pending right now.”

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement with Comprehensive Overview & Update on Obstruction of President Obama's Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/23/12
"There is no good reason that the Senate should not vote on consensus nominees like Judge Shipp and more than a dozen other consensus judicial nominees to fill Federal trial court vacancies in Iowa, California, Utah, Connecticut, Maryland, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. There is no good reason the Senate should not vote on the nominations of William Kayatta of Maine to the First Circuit, Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma to the Tenth Circuit, Richard Taranto to the Federal Circuit and for that matter Judge Patty Shwartz of New Jersey to the Third Circuit, who is supported by New Jersey's Republican Governor.... Despite vacancies still remaining near or above 80, Senate Republicans continue to obstruct and stall nominees on the Senate floor for no good reason. We could easily have confirmed both Judges Shipp and McNulty together three months ago. It is this type of across-the-board obstruction of judicial nominees by Senate Republicans that has contributed to the judicial vacancy crisis in our Federal courts."

Sen. Leahy Presses Republicans To Join Democrats In Approving Consensus Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/16/12
"Today we will vote on only one of the 18 judicial nominations voted on by the Judiciary Committee but that are being stalled for no good reason.... Today vacancies on the Federal courts are more than two and one half times as many as they were on this date during the first term of President Bush. Today, there are still 78 vacancies. Their tactics have actually led to an increase in judicial vacancies during President Obama’s first term – a development that is a sad first. ... in the past five presidential election years, Senate Democrats have never denied an up-or-down vote to any circuit court nominee of a Republican President who received bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Kevin McNulty Nomination and GOP Obstruction of Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/16/12
"William Kayatta was voted on by the Committee and placed before the Senate by mid April and could have been confirmed then. Richard Taranto and Judge Shwartz have been stalled before the Senate even longer, since March. As I explained in my last statement, Senate Republicans have shut down confirmations of circuit court judges not just in June or July but, in effect, for the entire year. The Senate has yet to vote on a single circuit court nominee nominated by President Obama this year. Since 1980, the only presidential election year in which there were no circuit nominees confirmed who were nominated that year was in 1996, when Senate Republicans shut down the process against President Clinton’s circuit nominees."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Rosenbaum Nomination And Calls To The GOP Leadership To End Obstruction
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/26/12
"The American people need to understand that Senate Republicans are stalling and filibustering judicial nominees supported by their home state Republican Senators. Just two weeks ago we needed to overcome a filibuster to confirm Justice Andrew Hurwitz of the Arizona Supreme Court to the Ninth Circuit despite the strong support of Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain. This year started with the Majority Leader having to file cloture to get an up-or-down vote on Judge Adalberto Jordan of Florida to the Eleventh Circuit even though he was strongly supported by his Republican home state Senator. And every single one of these circuit nominees for whom the Majority Leader was forced to file cloture this year was rated unanimously well qualified by the nonpartisan ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, the highest possible rating. And every one of them was nominated to fill a judicial emergency vacancy. ... In the past five presidential election years, Senate Democrats have never denied an up-or-down vote to any circuit court nominee of a Republican president who received bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee. That is what Senate Republicans are now seeking to do by blocking votes on William Kayatta, Judge Bacharach and Richard Taranto."

Statement Of Senator Leahy On The Lewis Nomination And Obstruction In The Senate
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/18/12
"I was heartened to see that the senior Senator from Maine has said that she will continue to work with the bipartisan Senate leadership in an effort to bring his the Maine nominee to the First Circuit before the Senate for a confirmation vote. I trust that the many Republican Senators who joined Senator Kyl and Senator McCain in opposing the filibuster of Justice Hurwitz will now join to oppose the filibusters of William Kayatta of Maine, Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma, Judge Shwartz of New Jersey, and Richard Taranto for the Federal Circuit. I would hope that the Senators from South Carolina, whose state’s nominee we consider today, will aid this effort just as we have worked with them throughout the process to ensure that they were consulted by the President and that they consented to proceeding with this nominee from their home state. I hope that they will show that courtesy to other Senators."

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Republican Opposition To Consensus Nominees
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/14/12
“This shutdown is consistent with what the partisan Senate Republican leadership did in 1996 and again at the end of President Clinton’s presidency, and can be contrasted with how Democrats acted in 1992, 2004 and 2008. This is really a challenge to the Senators who have said that they will not support these filibusters and this kind of shutdown, and to those Republican Senators who support the circuit court nominees from Maine and Oklahoma. They should reject this obstruction, just as the Senate rejected the filibusters of Judges Paul Watford and Andrew Hurwitz. It is hard to see how this new 'Thurmond Rule' shutdown is anything more than another name for the stalling tactics we have seen for months and years. I have yet to hear any good reason why we should not continue to vote on well-qualified, consensus nominees, just as we did up until September of the last two presidential election years. I have yet to hear a good explanation as to why we cannot work to solve the problem of high vacancies for the American people. I will continue to work with the Senate leadership to try to confirm as many of President Obama’s qualified judicial nominees as possible to fill the many judicial vacancies that burden our courts and the American people across the country.”

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Nomination Of Jeffrey Helmick
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/06/12
"That delay is being demonstrated again with respect to the nominations of Justice Hurwitz to the Ninth Circuit, Judge Shwartz to the Third Circuit, Richard Taranto to the Federal Circuit, and William Kayatta to the First Circuit. These are not controversial or ideologically driven nominees. Justice Hurwitz is strongly supported by Senator Kyl and Senator McCain; William Kayatta is strongly supported by Senator Snowe and Senator Collins. Another point made by the Congressional Research Service is that fewer circuit court nominees have been confirmed than were confirmed during the first terms of any of President Obama’s four predecessors—President Reagan, President Geroge H.W. Bush, President Clinton, or President George W. Bush."

Sen. Leahy Statement On Obstruction, Vacancies, Nominations & Judge Hillman
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/04/12
"we have passed over consideration of four other nominees who are all listed on the Executive Calendar ahead of Judge Hillman. Those nominees – Andrew Hurwitz for the Ninth Circuit, Jeffrey Helmick for the Northern District of Ohio, Patty Shwartz for the Third Circuit, and Mary Lewis for the District of South Carolina – are all extremely well qualified, have the support of their home state Senators, were reported favorably out of the Judiciary Committee, and deserve an up-or-down vote ... we need to agree to vote on the 15 other judicial nominees stalled on the Executive Calendar because there are still far too many vacancies ... The recently released CRS Report also notes that in five of the last eight presidential election years, the Senate has confirmed at least 22 nominees after May 31. Because of how far we are lagging from President Bush’s record of confirmations, we should be working to exceed those numbers."

Sen. Leahy May 14 Floor Statement on Ninth Circuit Nominees, Senate Delays, Vacancies and Emergencies
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/14/12
"We reduced vacancies on the Ninth Circuit during President Bush's two terms to only a single vacancy. Four of President Bush's Ninth Circuit nominees were confirmed during his first 4-year term ... By contrast, Senate Republicans are opposing our moving forward to consider and confirm Paul Watford and Andrew Hurwitz, who are both strongly supported by their home State Senators, to fill judicial emergency vacancies, and they filibustered the nomination of Goodwin Liu, who also had the strong support of his home State Senators. ... In May 2004, we reduced judicial vacancies to below 50 on the way to 28 that August. Despite 2004 being an election year, we were able to reduce vacancies to the lowest level in the last 20 years. ... In October 2008, another Presidential election year, we again worked to reduce judicial vacancies and were able to get back down to 34 vacancies. ... By comparison, the vacancy rate remains nearly twice what it was at this point in the first term of President Bush, and has remained near or above 80 for nearly three years."

Senate Confirms Two To District Courts In Texas; Leahy Statement
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/26/12
Judicial vacancies across the country continue to number around 80. In contrast, at the same point in the Bush administration, vacancies had been reduced to 45. “To make real progress, the Senate needs to proceed to consideration of the 24 judicial nominations currently before the Senate awaiting a final vote and the others working their way through the Committee process,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “The ten of those nominations that have been pending the longest are all to fill judicial emergency vacancies that should have been filled long ago.”

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Nomination of Judge Brian Wimes of Missouri
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/23/12
"We will conclude the first four months of this year having only considered judicial nominees who should have been confirmed before recessing last December. We have yet to get to any of the nominees we should be considering this year because of Republican objections to proceeding more promptly. ... The Senate is 33 confirmations of circuit and district court judges behind the number at this point in President Bush’s fourth year in office.... the Federal judiciary has been forced to operate with the heavy burden of 80 or more judicial vacancies for nearly three years now. There are 22 judicial nominees on the Senate Executive Calendar ready for final consideration ... Paul Watford of California and Justice Andrew Hurwitz of Arizona were both voted favorably from the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year. There is no good reason for delay. ... of the current vacancies without a nomination, 28 involve Republican home state Senators.... There are also an additional seven nominations on which the Senate Judiciary Committee cannot proceed because Republican Senators are withholding support."

Sen. Leahy: Thacker Confirmed To Fourth Circuit; Nominee Is Just Second Circuit Nomination Confirmed This Year
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/16/12
"Her consideration has been delayed more than five months and will not occur until May 7. But there are two more Ninth Circuit nominees to fill judicial emergency vacancies who are before the Senate awaiting final consideration. Paul Watford of California was reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee in early February. His nomination should be scheduled for a confirmation vote without further delay. Justice Andrew Hurwitz of Arizona was reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee in early March. His nomination should also be scheduled for a confirmation vote. There is no good reason for delay. The 61 million people served by the Ninth Circuit are not served by this delay. The Circuit is being forced to handle double the caseload of any other without its full complement of judges. The Senate should be expediting consideration of the nominations of Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, Paul Watford, and Justice Andrew Hurwitz, not delaying them."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Nominations Of Miranda Du And Susie Morgan
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/28/12
"The Senate needs to make real progress, which means going beyond the nominations included in the agreement between Senate leaders to include the 17 judicial nominations currently before the Senate for a final vote and the eight judicial nominees who have had hearings and are working their way through the Committee process. There are another 11 nominations on which the Committee should be holding additional hearings during the next several weeks."

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy Following Today’s Supreme Court Arguments On The Affordable Care Act
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/27/12
“This historic law will protect some of our most vulnerable citizens by eliminating discriminatory practices by health insurers, ensuring that patient’s gender is no longer a pre-existing condition, reducing the cost of prescription drugs for seniors, and ensuring access to health insurance for young adults. I hope that the Supreme Court will not undo the progress we have made. Doing so would call into question the social safety net we built over the last century with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “The Court should uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Congress considered this question when debating the law, and rejected that challenge. I would not have supported passage if I did not believe it was constitutional, nor would a majority of the Senate. I hope the Supreme Court will uphold the law and not seek to substitute its policy preferences for the legislative judgments of the people’s elected representatives.”

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/22/12
"The Senate needs to make progress beyond the 14 nominations in that agreement and beyond the 20 nominations currently on the calendar. There are another eight judicial nominees who have had hearings ... I hope the committee will hold hearings on another 11 nominations in the next few weeks. One of those nominees, Robert Shelby, is to fill the other vacancy on the United States District Court for the District of Utah. Whether he is included depends in large measure on the Senators from Utah. I have assiduously protected the rights of the minority in this process. I have only proceeded with judicial nominations supported by both home State Senators. That has meant that we are not able to proceed on current nominees from Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma and Utah. I even stopped proceedings on a circuit court nominee from Kansas when the Kansas Senators reversed themselves and withdrew their support for the nominee. I have been discussing with the junior Senator from Utah whether he will support the nomination of Robert Shelby. I have yet to receive assurance that he will."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statment on Judicial Vacancies; Blue Slips, & Committee and Floor Delays
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/15/12
"I should tell my colleagues that there are 83 vacancies, sure. Several of them are without a nomination because this President is trying to work with home State Senators, including 24 vacancies involving a Republican home State Senator who hasn't agreed to anybody. There are seven nominations on which the Senate Judiciary Committee cannot proceed because Republican Senators haven't returned blue slips indicating their support. We had somebody else who we were going to consider in Committee. Two Republican Senators had returned blue slips; they withdrew them and we had to take that name off the agenda. So we try to protect Republicans' rights in the committee and, suddenly, we are at fault because they are blocking people who have gone through unanimously. Well, none of these complaints would give any excuse for failure to move on nominees that went through with every single Republican, every single Democrat voting for them."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Republican Filibusters of Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/15/12
"In addition to the two nominations we consider today, another 10 of the nominations on which agreement has now been reached have been stalled for months and were reported last year. ... We must continue with the pattern set by yesterday’s agreement to make progress beyond the 14 nominations in that agreement and beyond the 22 nominations currently on the calendar. There are another eight judicial nominees working who have had hearings and are working their way through the Committee process. In addition, there are another 11 nominations on which the Committee should be holding additional hearings during the next several weeks."

Sen. Leahy Statement at Judiciary Committee March 15th Executive Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/15/12
"By working steadily, we can have a positive impact and reduce judicial vacancies significantly before the end of the year. In 2004 and 2008, both presidential election years, by working together we were able to reduce judicial vacancies to the lowest levels in decades. We remain 40 confirmations and nine months behind the pace we set during 2001 through 2004, during President Bush's first term. The judicial vacancy rate remains nearly double what it was at this time during his first term. Our courts need qualified Federal judges, not vacancies, if they are to reduce the excessive wait times that burden litigants seeking their day in court."

Senator Patrick Leahy On Agreement On Judicial Nominations and Republican Filibusters of Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/14/12
"Their agreement not only helps work through the backlog of nominations stalled before the Senate, it paves the way for votes on 14 of the 22 current judicial nominations and provides a pattern for continuing to make progress beyond those 14 and beyond the current 22. There are another eight judicial nominees working who have had hearings and are working their way through the Committee process. In addition, there are another 11 nominations on which the Committee should be holding additional hearings during the next several weeks."