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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 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."

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 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."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/14/12
"Today there are 22 circuit and district court nominations ready for Senate consideration ... consensus Federal trial court nominees in President Bush's first term. Nearly 60 were confirmed within a week of being reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. By contrast, there have only been two judicial nominees voted on so ... promptly since President Obama took office. ... In 2004 and 2008, both Presidential election years, by working together we were able to reduce judicial vacancies to the lowest levels in decades. ... Never before in the Senate's history have I seen the confirmation of qualified, consensus district court nominees supported by their home State Senators and reported by the Judiciary Committee blocked for months. We remain 40 confirmations and 9 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."

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."

Sen. Leahy: Pattern Of Obstruction And Filibusters Hurts Our Federal Courts
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/13/12
"Republicans are opposing judicial nominees they support. They are stalling Senate action for weeks and month on judicial nominees who they do not oppose and who they vote to confirm once their filibuster can be ended and the vote scheduled. That is what happened after a four-month filibuster when the Senate finally voted on the nomination of Judge Barbara Keenan. That is what happened when after a five-month filibuster, the Senate finally voted on the nomination of Judge Denny Chin. Once the Republican filibusters were ended, they were confirmed unanimously. "

Sen. Leahy Applauds Move To Bring Long-Pending Judicial Nominations To A Vote
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/12/12
A dozen nominations, including 10 district court nominations, have been pending on the Senate’s Executive Calendar since 2011. Senate Republicans have refused to consent to time agreements to schedule votes on the nominations, prompting Reid to file cloture on the district court nominations. “I urge Senate Republicans not to give way to political temptation by continuing to obstruct these district court nominations,” said Leahy. “Senators should debate, and then vote, on these non-controversial nominations, and not needlessly delay them any longer.”

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Nominations Of Mary Elizabeth Phillips To The Western District Of Missouri And Thomas Owen Rice To The Eastern District Of Washington
(Democrat - Vermont) 03/06/12
"Senate Republicans have chosen to depart dramatically from the long tradition of deference on district court nominees to the home state Senators. Instead, an unprecedented number of President Obama’s highly-qualified district court nominees have been targeted for opposition and obstruction. The nominations the Senate considers today did not receive a single negative vote in the Judiciary Committee. Still, they have been stalled from confirmation for almost five months. It is good that Senate Republicans are finally allowing them to be considered. But we need to do much more. These are only two of the 14 remaining judicial nominations voted on by the Judiciary Committee last year that have been stalled by Senate Republicans for months. They all should have been considered and confirmed last December. "

Sen. Leahy Statement at Feb. 29 Judicial Nominations Hearing
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/29/12
"Regrettably today's hearing is another with less than a full slate of nominees. This is true of both of our February hearings because the minority did not review background paperwork of the nominees I wanted to include. With vacancies on Federal courts across the country remaining extremely high, as they have throughout the term of the Obama administration, we cannot afford to slow down our consideration of nominations in this manner. We remain well behind the pace set by the Senate during President Bush's first term. By the end of President Bush's first term, the Senate had confirmed 205 district and circuit nominees. To date now in the fourth year of President Obama's first term, the Senate has confirmed only 129 district and circuit nominees. By this date in 2004, the Senate had confirmed 170 district and circuit nominees. Today the total is more than 40 confirmations shy of the mark."

Senate Dems Urge Action on Delayed Judicial Nominations [VIDEO MONTAGE]
(Democrat - California, Delaware, Illinois, New York, Vermont) 02/28/12
Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chris Coons (D-DEL) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) call on Republicans to stop obstructing votes on judicial nominations that have received broad, bipartisan support.

Sen. Leahy Urges Senate Action On Long-Delayed Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/28/12
"19 judicial nominations are pending on the Senate floor. Fourteen of the nominations were reported to the full Senate by the Judiciary Committee in 2011, including a dozen nominations that received unanimous support from the 18 members of the Judiciary Committee."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Nomination Of Margo Brodie To The Eastern District Of New York
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/27/12
"Since 1945, the Judiciary Committee has reported more than 2,100 district court nominees to the Senate. Of these 2,100 nominees, only six have been reported by party-line votes – only six total in the last 65 years. Five of those six party-line votes have been by Republican Senators against President Obama’s highly-qualified district court nominees. In fact, only 22 of those 2,100 district court nominees were reported by any kind of split roll call vote at all, and eight of those, more than a third, have been by Republican Senators choosing to oppose President Obama’s nominees. President Obama’s nominees are being treated differently than those of any President, Democratic or Republican, before him."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement Supporting Jesse Furman Nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/17/12
"I commend the majority leader for pressing forward to obtain a vote on the nomination of Jesse Furman, finally bringing to an end the 5-month Republican filibuster of this nomination. It should not have taken five months and the filing of a cloture petition to secure a vote on this superbly qualified, consensus nominee. When the Judiciary Committee voted on this nomination last September, it had the support of every Democrat and ever Republican on the Committee. Yesterday, I spoke, again, of the dangers posed by this Republican filibuster of a consensus Federal district court nominee. I am glad Senate Republicans have backed away from their misguided effort. The extended delay in considering the Furman nomination has not only been damaging to the Federal District Court of New York, but also to the people it serves. ... With 21 judicial nominations approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee awaiting a final vote, with one out of every 10 Federal judgeships vacant throughout the country, and with the Senate still more than 40 confirmations behind the pace we set with President Bush, the Senate cannot afford this continuing obstruction and delay of judicial confirmations. This filibuster, like the filibuster of Judge Adalberto Jordan that we finally ended earlier this week and others, bring derision upon the Senate, are a colossal waste of the time, and harm our Federal courts and the American people seeking justice."

Sen. Leahy: After More Than Five Months Of Delay, Senate Confirms NY District Court Nominee: Majority Of Judiciary Committee Republicans Flip Votes On Nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/17/12
"The Judiciary Committee reported the nomination to the full Senate by a unanimous voice vote on September 15. No Senator spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to the nomination; yet more than half of the Republicans who serve on the Judiciary Committee abandoned their Committee vote on the nomination and opposed its confirmation on the Senate floor."

Sen. Leahy: Five Months And Counting – Leahy Statement On Filibuster Of Furman Nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/16/12
"With this bipartisan support, the strong support of his home state Senators, and his impressive background, Mr. Furman’s nomination was reported by the Judiciary Committee on September 15, without opposition from a single member of the Committee. We should have voted on his nomination many months ago, and certainly before the end of the last session. Senate Republicans have blocked this nomination for over five months without any explanation. ... Last May, the Majority Leader was required to file for cloture to end the filibuster of Judge Jack McConnell of Rhode Island. By rejecting that filibuster, the Senate took a step toward restoring a longstanding tradition of deference to home state Senators with regard to Federal District Court nominations. The Senate turned away from a precipice. It is wrong now for us to approach that precipice again. Filibustering this nomination would set a new standard for obstruction of judicial nominations."

Sen. Leahy Floor Statement on Adalberto Jordan Nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/15/12
"[T]he Senate will finally vote on the nomination of Judge Adalberto Jordan of Florida to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit. Finally, after a 4 month Republican filibuster that was broken by an 89 to 5 vote on Monday, and after Republicans insisted on two additional days of delay, the Senate will have a vote."

Sen. Leahy: After Four Month – Plus Two Day – Delay, Senate Confirms 11th Circuit Nominee
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/15/12
"Judge Jordan is by any measure the kind of consensus nominee who should have been confirmed after being reported unanimously by the Judiciary Committee last October. Despite the strong support of his home state Senators, Senator Nelson, a Democrat, and Senator Rubio, a Republican, Republicans filibustered and delayed this confirmation for months. They prevented the Senate from voting on Judge Jordan’s nomination in October, in November, in December, and in January. And it should not have taken another two days after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to bring the debate to a close to have this vote. This superbly-qualified nominee will be the first Cuban-American on the Eleventh Circuit."

Sen. Leahy Post-Cloture Floor Statement on Continuing Delay of Judge Adalberto Jordan Confirmation
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/13/12
"4 months ago, when Judge Adelberto Jordan came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with every single Republican and every single Democrat voting for him, after the work done by the distinguished senior Senator from Florida and his colleague from Florida, the Senator from Florida, Mr. NELSON, made a commitment that every single Democrat would vote for this Cuban American immediately. Four months later, having had the cloture vote the Senator from Florida just mentioned— there was overwhelming support for him—he is still being held up. This is beneath the Senate of the United States of America."

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/09/12
"There is no reason or explanation for why Senate Republicans continue to block a vote on the nomination of Jesse Furman to fill a vacancy on the Southern District of New York. His nomination was voted out of the Judiciary Committee on September 15, nearly five months ago, without opposition from a single member of the Committee and a month before the nomination being considered today. Mr. Furman, an experienced Federal prosecutor who served as Counselor to Attorney General Michael Mukasey for two years during the Bush administration, is a nominee with an impressive background and bipartisan support. We should have voted on his nomination many months ago, and certainly before the end of the last session. Senate Republicans have now skipped over that nomination and stalled it for almost five months."

Statement Of Senator Leahy On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/07/12
"Every one of the 19 judicial nominations awaiting final Senate action has the support of his or her home state Senators, Republican as well as Democratic. There is no excuse for continued stalling of President Obama’s consensus judicial nominees. The courts and the country cannot afford another year of across-the-board delays of President Obama’s judicial nominations. I urge votes on Jesse Furman for the Southern District of New York, Cathy Bencivengo for the Southern District of California, Gina Groh for the Northern District of West Virginia, Margo Brodie for the Southern District of New York, Adalberto Jordan for the Eleventh Circuit, Beth Phillips for the Western District of Missouri, Thomas Rice for the Eastern District of Washington, David Nuffer for the District of Utah, Stephanie Thacker for the Fourth Circuit, Michael Fitzgerald for the Central District of California, Ronnie Abrams for the Southern District of New York, Rudolph Contreras for the District of Washington DC, Susie Morgan for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Jacqueline Nguyen for the Ninth Circuit, Gregg Costa for the Southern District of Texas, David Guaderrama for the Western District of Texas, and Brian Wimes for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri."

Sen. Leahy Off-Floor Remarks on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 02/07/12
“In all the years I’ve been here, I have never seen anything like this; holding up people that had every single Republican and every single Democrat in the committee vote for them,” Leahy said off the Senate floor, adding that the chamber must act to remedy the judicial vacancy rate. Nearly one in 10 federal judgeships is vacant.