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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Durbin Floor Statement Supreme Court and other federal court vacancies and nominees
(Democrat - Illinois) 07/07/16
"For the first moment in the history of the United States--in the history of the United States--we have a Presidential nominee sent to fill the vacancy of the late Justice Scalia, and the Republicans in the Senate refuse to give him a hearing or a vote. That has never--underline the word ``never''--happened in the history of the United States of America. When we say do your job, it starts at the highest Court and goes straight down to every Federal court in America. I sit on the Judiciary Committee, and what I think is particularly galling, troubling, and worrisome is that each one of these nominees has been carefully vetted by the Department of Justice, by the FBI, by Republican staffers--everyone imaginable--culling through every aspect of their life to see if they are truly worthy of being a lifetime appointee to the Federal bench, and they all passed the test. They were all voted out of committee, and they all languish on the floor of the Senate for the very reason the Senator mentioned."

Sen. Warren Unanimous Consent request for Floor votes on 13 District Court nominees who were nominated last year
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 07/07/16
"The Nation faces a judicial vacancy crisis. Ten percent of the district court judgeships in this country are empty. We face nearly twice as many judicial emergencies as President Bush faced in 2008 or President Clinton faced in 2000. Cases are piling up, and courts are starved for help. The Supreme Court of the United States sits paralyzed, unable to deal with some of its most challenging cases. But the majority whip is going to pack up and go home, leaving 18 judgeships vacant because--well, that is the process? This isn't a game. There is no scoreboard. You don't get to ignore a national crisis because you care more about scoring political points than keeping government functioning. President Obama's job is to nominate judges to fill vacancies, and the Republicans' job here is to lead us to confirm those judges to fill those vacancies. Do your job."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 07/06/16
"But instead of honoring Chief Judge Garland’s service, Senate Republicans have undertaken an unrelenting campaign of partisan obstruction against his nomination to the Supreme Court. Recently, Reid Hoffman, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and founder of LinkedIn, penned an op-ed criticizing the Senate Republican blockade of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination:... Senate Republicans’ partisan refusal to do their jobs extends to the lower courts as well. In the 19 months that Senate Republicans have had a majority, they have allowed just 21 votes on judicial nominations. As a result, Federal judicial vacancies have skyrocketed. ... When Democrats controlled the Senate during the last two years of President George W. Bush’s administration, we worked hard to confirm judicial nominees with bipartisan support. During those two years, we confirmed 68 of President Bush’s judicial nominees and reduced the number of judicial vacancies to 34. We even held hearings and confirmation votes into late September of the election year, because filling vacancies with qualified nominees with bipartisan support is more important than scoring partisan points. Senate Republicans have not shared that priority, or else they would never have allowed judicial vacancies to nearly double from 43 to 83 since they have controlled the Senate, leaving two dozen judicial nominations pending on the Senate floor.... Even after today’s vote, there will still be 24 judicial nominations languishing on the Senate floor. One of them was reported at the same time as Judge Martinotti and has also been awaiting a vote for over eight months. We still do not have an agreement to vote on the nomination of Edward Stanton to the Western District of Tennessee. In 2010, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm Mr. Stanton as the United States Attorney for that district. His current nomination is supported by his two Republican home state Senators and he was unanimously voice voted out of the Judiciary Committee."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Supreme Court, Emergency Funding for Zika, and Judicial Nomination
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/27/16
"Senate Republicans are also failing to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to our district and circuit courts. In the 18 months that Senate Republicans have had a majority, they have allowed just 20 votes on judicial nominations – to disastrous results on our Federal courts as judicial vacancies have skyrocketed. Contrast this record to the last two years of George W. Bush’s administration, when Democrats were in control. During that time, Democrats confirmed 68 of President Bush’s judicial nominees and reduced the number of judicial vacancies to 34. Today, however, Senate Republicans’ obstruction has caused judicial vacancies to nearly double from 43 to 83. Of these, 30 have been designated as judicial emergencies where caseloads are unmanageably high and the administration of justice is strained. ... Senate Republicans'... persistent and unprecedented obstruction is harmful to the American people who are finding justice delayed in our Federal courts.... Even after today’s vote, there will be 25 judicial nominations languishing on the Senate floor. Two of them were reported at the same time as Robert Rossiter and have also been awaiting a vote for eight months.... And we do not have an agreement to vote on the nomination of Edward Stanton to the Western District of Tennessee. In 2010, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm Mr. Stanton as the United States Attorney for that district, and his current nomination is supported by his two Republican home state Senators, as well as by every Republican on the Judiciary Committee. Only because of the efforts of Senator Fischer is Mr. Rossiter’s nomination receiving a vote today. I hope the Republican Senators of Tennessee will be able to persuade the Majority Leader to schedule a vote for Mr. Stanton’s nomination before we leave for the July recess."

Sen. Leahy: SCOTUS Deadlocks Show The Cost Of GOP Obstruction
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/27/16
"The eight-member Supreme Court has failed to resolve cases on the merits seven times since February .... Those deadlocks and repeated failures to resolve cases, Leahy said, are the direct result of Senate Republicans who continue to refuse to give a hearing and a vote to Chief Judge Merrick Garland who would fill a critical vacancy on the Supreme Court.... At the lower courts, vacancies, including emergency vacancies, continue to rise because of Republican obstruction of judicial nominees. Senate Republicans have allowed just 20 judicial nominees to be confirmed since taking over the majority last year. In sharp contrast, the Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed 68 judicial nominees in the last two years of President Bush’s tenure. Judicial vacancies have nearly doubled since Republicans took control of the Senate. Today, there are 83 judicial vacancies, from the Supreme Court to district courts throughout the country. At this same point in President George W. Bush’s final year in office, a Democratic Senate majority worked to reduce judicial vacancies to just 39. The same Democratically-controlled Senate also confirmed 28 nominees in 2008, including 10 in September of that election year. Leahy called on Republicans to consider all pending nominees so that the Federal judiciary can fully function. “It is the Senate’s duty to ensure that our independent judiciary can function,” he said. “Based on the deadlocks and delays we have seen, it is clear that Senate Republicans are not acting responsibly. Senate Republicans must act on Chief Judge Garland’s nomination, as well as the 25 judicial nominations that are languishing on the Senate floor.”

Senator Markey Decries Deadlocked Supreme Court Decision in United States v. Texas
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 06/24/16
“The millions of immigrants whose futures have been needlessly put in limbo as a result of today’s Supreme Court’s split decision in United States v. Texas can blame Republican obstruction for this terrible uncertainty. Because Senate Republicans refuse to hold a hearing or have a vote on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the American people are left with a Court that cannot decide the most important cases in our nation. ... It is time for Republicans to end their obstruction, for Senate Republicans to bring Judge Garland’s nomination to a vote, and for House Republicans to debate and vote on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Sen. Murray: SCOTUS Immigration Ruling Will Force Families Back Into Shadows, Shows Why We Need Fully Functioning Supreme Court
(Democrat - Washington) 06/23/16
“Today’s Supreme Court split decision is a truly devastating blow to children and families across the country and to the American values that so many of us hold dear,” said Senator Murray. “By not allowing the President’s common sense reforms to be implemented, families in Washington state and around the country will be forced back into the shadows—and this is simply wrong. This ruling speaks to the urgent need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and it underscores why Republicans’ refusal to even consider filling the vacant Supreme Court seat is so damaging to families, our country, our economy and our judicial process.”

Sen. Shaheen Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in U.S. v. Texas
(Democrat - New Hampshire) 06/23/16
“The Supreme Court’s order today is extremely disappointing and demonstrates why having only eight justices on our nation’s highest court hurts our country."

Sen. Boxer Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in United States v. Texas
(Democrat - California) 06/23/16
"Right now Republicans - who claim to be the party of family values - are tearing apart millions of families because they refuse to pass comprehensive immigration reform and they refuse to end the gridlock at the Supreme Court by considering President Obama's nominee to the high court. This deadlocked court has dashed the hopes of millions of immigrants who only want to live productive lives with their families in the country that they have called home for many years."

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Supreme Court’s Decision In United States v. Texas
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/23/16
“Today’s deadlocked Supreme Court and the uncertainty it causes for millions of families in this great nation is brought to you by Republican obstruction. Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to allow a Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill to even receive a vote three years ago. If that bipartisan bill had received a vote, it would be law today and the President would not have been forced to protect these vulnerable families through executive action. If Senate Republicans were not engaged in unprecedented obstruction against Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, he would be serving on our highest court today and the court would be at full strength and capable of resolving important cases. “This is a devastating day for millions of families in this country but also for our system of government under the Constitution. It shows how partisan obstruction is weakening our democracy.”

Sen. Cardin Says 4-4 Immigration Decision Exemplifies Why the Senate Must Do Its Job Filling the Supreme Court Vacanc
(Democrat - Maryland) 06/23/16
“Yet another 4-4 decision exemplifies why the Senate Republicans must fulfill their constitutional duty to consider the president’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. It is an unprecedented dereliction of duty for the Senate to refuse to give a hearing and a vote for a nomination of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The Senate leadership is weakening the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court and undermining the rule of law by purposely trying to shrink the Supreme Court from nine to eight justices. The president has done his job by nominating an extremely well-qualified individual for this vacancy. It’s long past time for the Senate to do its job.”

Sen. Reid Statement On Supreme Court Ruling In United States v. Texas
(Democrat - Nevada) 06/23/16
“I am extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court failed to reach a majority decision, resulting on a 4-4 tie. Today’s split decision did not rule this program unconstitutional. It highlighted how a hobbled Supreme Court is unable to provide justice to the American people. It showcased the need for a fully functioning Supreme Court and for Republicans to move without delay on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. Until that happens, this commonsense program will remain blocked and millions of families will continue to live in constant fear of losing a loved one to deportation.... Not satisfied with gridlock in the Senate, Republicans are bringing gridlock to the judicial branch. In recent weeks the Supreme Court has deadlocked on many important cases and questions before it. Because of Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction and failure to do their constitutional duty, millions of American families are not getting the justice they deserve."

Sen. Hirono: Court’s Deadlock Denies Hope & Opportunity To Millions
(Democrat - Hawaii) 06/23/16
"Deadlock at the Court, and deadlock in Congress, are denying hope and opportunity to millions of people. This is not how our government is supposed to work. I will continue speaking out and fighting as hard as I can to give those people in the shadows hope, and to see that the Supreme Court be returned to full strength, and that Congress finally pass real, comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”

Sen. Blumenthal Statement on Supreme Court's Deadlocked United States v. Texas Decision
(Democrat - Connecticut) 06/23/16
“Today’s deadlocked decision tragically leaves in place the Fifth’s Circuit’s incorrect and inhumane ruling. The ruling is an attack not just on the basic principles of administrative law, but on millions of immigrant families who are at risk of being torn apart from each other and away from the only life they have ever known. ... The Supreme Court’s paralysis on this critical issue exposes the human cost of Republicans’ refusal to fill the current vacancy. This sheer, unprecedented obstructionism is damaging our nation’s highest court, jeopardizing our democracy, and leaving heartbroken families in its wake.”

Sen. Bennet Statement on Supreme Court Deadlock on President’s Immigration Executive Actions
(Democrat - Colorado) 06/23/16
"Additionally, the Senate's complete disregard for its constitutional responsibility to fill a Supreme Court vacancy has led to another deadlocked ruling, defaulting to the lower court's decision. Congress should cancel its scheduled extended seven-week recess and get to work on these important issues. The Senate and House should put politics aside and do their jobs by filling the Supreme Court vacancy, fixing our immigration system, and acting on the litany of other issues they've ignored"

Sen. Casey Statement on Supreme Court Deadlock
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 06/23/16
"The President’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and enhanced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would have helped millions of law abiding families remain together and fully contribute to our nation. I’m saddened that today’s indecision by the Supreme Court means that these families will remain in limbo."

Sen. Tom Udall Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in United States v. Texas
(Democrat - New Mexico) 06/23/16
"I am extremely disappointed that because Senate Republicans have obstructed the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, our nation's highest court is hobbled and unable to function properly.... Today, the deadlocked court was only able to issue a one-sentence 4-4 decision on an issue of great significance to our nation, keeping millions of people in ongoing legal purgatory. "Senate Republicans need to do their job so our nation's highest court can do its job: resolve important and complex legal disputes and provide certainty to all of our laws. The unprecedented obstruction in Washington is doing long-lasting harm to our critical government institutions. I call on the Senate Republicans to allow us to hold hearings and a vote on the eminently qualified Merrick Garland, and restore our Supreme Court to its full slate of nine justices."

Sen. Franken: Supreme Court Deadlock in Important Immigration Case Underscores Need for Fully Functioning Court; Split Decision Today Keeps President Obama’s Executive Action to Help Immigrant Families in Limbo
(Democrat - Minnesota) 06/23/16
"This split decision by the Supreme Court is a major setback for immigrants in my state and around the country who just want to live with dignity and protect their families," said Sen. Franken. "I'm very disappointed that the Court was unable to come up with a decision in this case and give some certainty to immigrant families, which is why it's long past time for the Senate to do its job. We must hold hearings and a vote on the President's nominee to fill the vacancy on the Court. And Congress must recognize the need to take up and pass comprehensive immigration reform."

(Democrat - Oregon) 06/23/16
“Today’s deadlocked decision by the Supreme Court is a disappointing blow to millions of families who are contributing to thriving communities throughout our nation. ... The Court’s tie today underscores another disturbing reality: we do not currently have a fully functioning judiciary. It is unacceptable the Senate has delayed the confirmation of the President’s Supreme Court nominee. Today’s ruling is a perfect example of the perils of the Senate’s inaction due to the outright refusal of Senate Republicans to do their jobs."

Senator Booker Statement on Supreme Court Decision in United States v. Texas
(Democrat - New Jersey) 06/23/16
“The 4-4 vote in this case also highlights the importance to the American people of a fully-functioning Supreme Court. Because Senate leadership has refused to do its job and grant even a hearing to Chief Judge Merrick Garland, undocumented immigrants and their families must continue living in limbo and fear being broken apart.”

Sen. Feinstein Statement on United States v. Texas
(Democrat - California) 06/23/16
“This decision makes clear the severe consequences of a deadlocked Supreme Court. The refusal of Senate Republicans to fulfill their constitutional advise-and-consent rule is unprecedented. With only eight justices, the Supreme Court will continue to tie on important cases, leaving legal questions unanswered and perpetuating uncertainty in federal law.”

Sen. Heinrich Statement On Supreme Court Deadlock Decision On Immigration Case
(Democrat - New Mexico) 06/23/16
"Today's decision is disappointing and underscores the urgency of having a fully staffed Supreme Court. This indecision will impact families across the country who fear that one day they will be separated from their loved ones, and makes clear why Congress must work together to fix our broken immigration system."

Sen. Mark Warner on 4-4 Supreme Court Ruling in U.S. v. Texas
(Democrat - Virginia) 06/23/16
“It is heartbreaking that Senate Republicans’ refusal to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities in considering the President’s nominee has left the Supreme Court one justice short of the number needed to decide this case. Today, political obstruction needlessly keeps four and a half million people in legal limbo, uncertain whether they can come out of the shadows and remain in the U.S., or continue to face the prospect of having their families torn apart. Friday will mark 100 days since Merrick Garland’s nomination, and today’s decision shows just how important it is for the Senate to consider his qualifications and bring him up for a vote. ”

Sen. Jack Reed Statement on Supreme Court’s Deadlocked Immigration Ruling
(Democrat - Rhode Island) 06/23/16
“This deadlocked ruling leaves millions of families in jeopardy and highlights the need for Congress to stop dragging its feet and do its job on a host of issues pertaining to immigration reform. This ruling also highlights the need for Republicans in the Senate to cease their obstruction of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Our nation needs a functioning Supreme Court, and rulings like this one make that even more clear. Big cases like this shouldn’t be decided by a short-handed Supreme Court."

Delaware Delegation Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling on President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration
(Democrat - Delaware) 06/23/16
“I’m extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision regarding President Obama’s efforts to help tens of thousands of children and families who have made a home in the United States,” said Senator Carper. ... “It is also critical to note that today’s ruling was not an affirmative decision to block these executive actions, but a clear lack of a decision in the absence of a full bench. A 4-4 tie is a stark reminder of the damage being done to our country and our democracy by Republicans’ refusal to consider the nomination of Judge Garland to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Every member of the Senate has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, some of us many times over, and failing to consider this nomination is an abdication of our responsibilities to this country. It is unacceptable for us to continue playing partisan politics with the Constitution and hampering our country’s highest court. We know all too well that justice delayed is justice denied and that is exactly what we have witnessed today. The Senate must do its job and fill this vacancy to restore our Supreme Court to full strength.” “The 4-4 decision by the Supreme Court today leaves millions of families and kids vulnerable to deportation with no path towards citizenship. It’s a clear demonstration of why we need comprehensive immigration reform – and how the Supreme Court vacancy has hobbled the Court’s ability to address our country's most urgent problems,” said Senator Coons. “The Court's inability to reach a decision today not only threatens to tear apart families who are already contributing to this country, but also leaves the United States without clarity on an issue at the heart of our identity. I’m disappointed by today’s decision, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do our jobs and move forward with Chief Judge Merrick Garland's confirmation.” “I’m extremely disappointed in this decision. It only underlines the dysfunction hampering our highest court as they sit without a full bench."

SEN. KLOBUCHAR STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT SPLIT IMMIGRATION DECISION: The ruling in U.S. v. Texas underscores the need for a fully functioning Supreme Court and comprehensive immigration reform that would enrich American communities and strengthen the economy
(Democrat - Minnesota) 06/23/16
“The Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision is a clear reminder that the Court cannot function with just eight justices,” Klobuchar said. “I urge my colleagues to remember what the people sent us here to do. The Senate must do its job and hold a confirmation hearing on the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court. We also should be passing comprehensive immigration reform, something the Senate passed on a bipartisan basis three years ago. It is time to take it up again."

Sen. Menendez Statement on SCOTUS Immigration Ruling
(Democrat - New Jersey) 06/23/16
“Today’s unexpected decision only further reminds us why we must confirm a ninth Justice to the Court: The American people deserve a decisive answer, not a hung jury. It’s time for Republicans in the U.S. Senate to do their job."

Sen. Durbin Statement On Supreme Court Ruling In United States V. Texas
(Democrat - Illinois) 06/23/16
“Today’s decision shows the terrible human cost of Senate Republicans’ reckless refusal to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by Justice Scalia’s death. The Court’s failure to resolve the legal challenge to DAPA and expanded DACA leaves millions of families in indefinite limbo,”

(Democrat - Virginia) 06/23/16
”The tie vote in two rulings today, including this key immigration case, also shows how destructive the Republican blockade on filling the Supreme Court is to the rule of law. Instead of following their Constitutional duty to advise and consent on appointments - the clear statutory command that the Court have nine members and the compelling historical precedent of prompt confirmation hearings - the majority is engaging in a concerted plan to weaken the judicial branch of government. It is a sad day when one branch of government believes it can gain political advantage by undermining another branch. If nothing else, the Republican blockade on the Court should show all Americans what's truly at stake this November.”

Sen. Leahy Comment On The Unanimous Well-Qualified Rating of Chief Judge Merrick Garland By The American Bar Association
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/21/16
"“Senate Republicans who are blocking Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland are out of excuses. Today the American Bar Association announced its rating of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination, unanimously awarding him its highest rating of ‘Well-Qualified’ to serve on the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans should do their job and promptly call the ABA to testify about its independent review of the nominee in a public hearing. This has been the practice for as long as I have served in the Senate. Senate Republicans should then proceed with the overdue confirmation process for Chief Judge Garland so that he can be confirmed in time for the Court’s next term. “It has been almost 100 days since Chief Judge Garland was nominated, and in that time we have seen an eight-member Supreme Court deadlocked and diminished."