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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Senator Statements

 

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Sen. Franken at Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing
(Democrat - Minnesota) 06/21/16
Senate Democrats have repeatedly criticized their colleagues over delays on emergency positions, and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., noted Tuesday there are 26 pending nominations at the committee, both emergency and nonemergency. After committee votes last week to advance four judges, more than 20 are also waiting for votes on the Senate floor. Franken criticized the Senate's delays on nominees, including the nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR STATEMENT ON THE UNANIMOUS WELL-QUALIFIED RATING OF CHIEF JUDGE MERRICK GARLAND BY THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
(Democrat - Minnesota) 06/21/16
“Today’s announcement that the American Bar Association has unanimously given Judge Garland its highest possible rating is further evidence that this exemplary jurist is deserving of his nomination to the highest court in the land. It has now been close to 100 days since Judge Garland was nominated, and it is well past time for the Senate to do its job by holding a public confirmation hearing and an up-or-down vote on his nomination.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/16/16
"Today the Committee will vote on four judicial nominees, three of which would fill judicial emergency vacancies. Once they are reported out, we will have 26 judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor. These nominees will fill vacancies in courts around the country, and yet there is little to no progress on confirming these nominees. In a stunning disregard of our Federal Judiciary, Republicans have stood by while judicial vacancies have piled up. When Senate Republicans took over the majority last year, there were 43 judicial vacancies, 12 of which were emergency vacancies. Because of Republicans’ refusal to do their jobs, vacancies have nearly doubled to 83, and emergency vacancies have nearly tripled to 30. Instead of addressing this judicial vacancy crisis, Republicans’ only response is to cite the number of judges confirmed during President Obama’s administration. But our job is not to hit some magic number and then pat ourselves on the back. Our job is to fill vacancies so that our justice system can function efficiently for Americans across the country. And Senate Republicans are failing. Republicans are also failing our justice system and the American people by refusing to consider Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court."

Sen. Reid on Garland Supreme Court nomination
(Democrat - Nevada) 06/16/16
In an interview, Mr. Reid said he doubted he could have ever persuaded his fellow Democrats to go on a “fool’s errand” such as stonewalling the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland, refusing to schedule hearings and in multiple cases deciding against even a courtesy meeting with the nominee. “If anybody can get his senators to all agree to go over a cliff and kill themselves, that’s pretty good,” Mr. Reid said in his deadpan manner. “Boy, I will tell you that guy has a lot more sway with his caucus than I ever had. If I ever suggested something as absurd and bizarre as that to my caucus, they would revote and kick the hell out of me out of the caucus. I mean, really.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/09/16
"There is a judicial vacancy crisis, including a critical vacancy on our Nation’s highest court. Republicans should allow Chief Judge Garland a public hearing and a confirmation vote this month. They should also allow an up or down vote on the 22 judicial nominees who have been reported favorably by this Committee."

Sen. Leahy: The Federal Judiciary Cannot Be Treated Like An Election Year Pawn
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/08/16
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. A recent analysis by the Washington Post detailed the judicial vacancy crisis impacting courts throughout the country. Vacancies, including emergency vacancies, have nearly doubled since Republicans took over the majority. The vacancy rate is nearly twice as high today under the Republican Senate as it was at the same point in President George W. Bush’s final year in office, when a Democratic Senate majority worked to fill judicial vacancies and confirmed 28 nominees in 2008, including 10 in September of that election year. This obstruction extends all the way to the Supreme Court, where the Republicans’ refusal to fill a critical vacancy has led to a diminished Court that cannot serve as the final arbiter of law. A recent extensive analysis by two law professors found that there is “no historical precedent” for the Republicans’ refusal to consider Chief Judge Garland’s nomination.

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Partisan Attacks of the Independent Judiciary
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/08/16
"For more than seven years, Senate Republicans have tried to block judicial nominations through stalling and delaying, and even distorting the records of the men and women nominated to serve on the Federal bench. This systematic obstruction has impacted courts across the country, ultimately harming the American people who are seeking justice in them. Judicial vacancies have soared under Republican leadership, even though dozens of nominations with bipartisan support have languished on the Senate floor. And then earlier this year, Senate Republicans took their obstruction one unprecedented step further. Within hours of the news of Justice Scalia’s passing, the Republican Leader declared his unilateral refusal to allow anyone to be confirmed to the Supreme Court until the following year, even though it was only February. That was an extraordinary partisan decision without precedent in the United States Senate. Since confirmation hearings began a century ago, never has the Senate denied a Supreme Court nominee a hearing. ... Our Federal courts – from the Supreme Court all the way down – deserve to be at full strength, and the Senate needs to treat fairly the dozens of nominees before us who all have earned bipartisan support.... They should allow Chief Judge Garland a public hearing and a confirmation vote this month. They should also allow an up or down vote on the 22 judicial nominees who have been reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The American people deserve leaders who respect and support our Federal courts, and who have the courage to take action."

Sen. Warren motions to vote on 15, 9, 4 and then 1 district court nominees the Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 06/08/16
"Republicans have slowed down the confirmation of judicial nominees to a crawl--the people needed to resolve important legal disputes.... Start with district court judges, the men and women who resolve disputes over how government works and whether the Constitution or Federal laws are being respected. They do an enormous amount of work. Their work is not political. Democratic and Republican Senators have worked with the President to select these nominees. As of today the Senate Judiciary Committee has cleared 15 people who were nominated for seats on the Federal district courts. These nominees have the support of Democrats and Republicans.... On Monday, I wanted to come to the Senate floor to make the request I just made but I guess the majority leader ... didn't want to draw any more attention to the Republicans' unprecedented blockade of judicial nominations. So the Republicans offered me a deal: Just go away, and we will confirm two Court of International Trade judges.... These two uncontroversial nominees have been twisting in the wind for 336 days. They are highly qualified, honorable lawyers who are ready to serve their country. So on Monday, I took the deal. The Republicans released two hostages, and the Senate confirmed them by a voice vote, without objection--not a single objection nearly a year after they were nominated. Today, the majority leader isn't offering to release any hostages ... The Constitution is clear. The Senate's job is to provide advice and consent on the President's judicial nominees. There is no asterisk that says ``only when the majority leader has an embarrassing political problem'' or ``except when the President is named Barrack Obama.'' It is not what the Founders had in mind because it is small, it is petty, and it is absurd. For these district court nominees, the U.S. Senate should be asking one question and one question only: Are these judges qualified or are they not qualified? That is it. But that is not what is happening in the U.S. Senate. Instead, good people twist in the wind, hung up as political hostages, and that is undermining the integrity of our courts. So if you will not give all 15 judges their votes, let's at least have a vote on the 9 district court nominees who had their Judiciary Committee hearings last year. Senator Toomey called for some of these nominees to be confirmed last month. All of these nominees have been waiting for at least 6 months--almost 200 days--since their hearings. When President Reagan was in office, almost no uncontroversial nominees took longer than 100 days to confirm from the day they were nominated. The delay is ridiculous. Give them their votes.... Since they took charge of the Senate last year, these Republicans are on pace for the lowest number of judicial confirmations in more than 60 years."

Senator Elizabeth Warren Releases Report Detailing GOP's Extremist Record of Obstructing Key Obama Nominees
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 06/06/16
Senator Elizabeth Warren today released a report highlighting Senate Republicans' long record of delaying and blocking votes on President Obama's nominees to the judiciary and to other key administration positions, culminating in the GOP's ongoing obstruction of Supreme Court Nominee Chief Judge Merrick Garland. "The idea that Senate Republicans are willing to leave our highest court short-handed for nearly a year seems shocking. But the fact is that, for more than seven years, they have waged an unrelenting campaign to keep key positions throughout government empty," Senator Warren said. ... Senator Warren's report, Going to Extremes: The Supreme Court and Senate Republicans' Unprecedented Record of Obstruction of President Obama's Nominees, examines how Senate Republicans have made it their priority to undermine President Obama by delaying or halting altogether the confirmation of federal judges and officials to lead the agencies that protect consumers and workers, hold large corporations accountable, and promote equality. When compared with other recent presidents, Obama's first-term judicial nominees moved more slowly and fewer nominees were confirmed, and a larger percentage of Obama's uncontroversial first-term judicial nominees -- those reported and eventually confirmed overwhelmingly -- waited long periods of time for confirmation after being nominated. When the GOP gained the Senate majority, the party slowed confirmations even more.

Sen. Leahy: If Republicans Followed Bipartisan History, Senate Would Be Confirming Supreme Court Nominee TODAY: Justice Delayed As Senate Republicans Refuse To Consider Supreme Court Nominee
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/25/16
“Under Republican leadership, the Senate is on track to be in session for the fewest days since 1956,” Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said. “Senate Republicans simply refuse to do their jobs. And if Senate Republican leadership has its way, this seat on the Supreme Court will remain unnecessarily vacant for more than a year, meaning justice delayed for too many Americans.”

Sen. Reid: Despite Pressing Issues, Republicans Set Lightest Senate Work Schedule In 60 Years
(Democrat - Nevada) 05/24/16
"Tomorrow is the 100th day that there has been a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court.... If there were ever a consensus nominee, Merrick Garland is that nominee. Just a few years ago, the former head of the Judiciary Committee, the senior senator from Utah, once said that Merrick Garland a consensus nomination.... Senate Republicans have already wasted the last 70 days without doing anything on Merrick Garland’s nomination. Those days are lost. We cannot get them back. But what about the rest of the year? We have all this time to give Judge Garland a hearing and a vote. But we cannot consider the nomination if we are not here. The Senate should stay in session until our work is completed."

Sen. Reid: Republican Obstruction Is Denying Americans The Justice They Deserve
(Democrat - Nevada) 05/18/16
“Litigants take their cases to the Supreme Court in search of justice. They seek resolution. They seek clarity. But because of Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction, Americans are getting none of those things.... Republicans are doing the same thing with trial court judges. The federal judiciary has many, many districts that are declaring a judicial emergency. They don’t have enough judges to do their work."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Public Meeting to Discuss Qualifications of Merrick Garland To Serve on the Supreme Court of the United States
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/18/16
"It has been more than two months since he was nominated to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. If not for unprecedented Republican obstruction, Judge Garland would have already had a public hearing, and we would be poised to report him out of Committee. Instead, his record is being smeared by outside groups, while Senate Republicans deny this distinguished jurist a public hearing and a fair opportunity to respond those attacks. As Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, I am not able to convene a confirmation hearing. But just because Republicans refuse to do their job on Judge Garland’s nomination does not mean that we Democrats will stop doing ours. We take our constitutional duty to evaluate Supreme Court nominees seriously. And if there was any doubt about the importance of a fully-functioning Supreme Court, the decisions handed down this week are just the latest evidence of the harm stemming from Republican obstruction. Since the untimely death of Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court has repeatedly failed to serve its highest function under our Constitution because it is not at full strength."

Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Allow Confirmation Vote On Single Judicial Nominee While Holding Up Dozens More; From Trial Courts To Supreme Court, Americans Are Finding It Harder To Seek Justice In Our Courts Because Of GOP Obstruction
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/16/16
“Because of Republican obstruction, our independent judiciary is struggling to perform its role under the Constitution,” Leahy said, noting that a judge on the Eastern District of Texas recently warned that plaintiffs would experience “draconian kinds of delays” if more judges are not confirmed soon. Senate Republicans have allowed just 18 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. District court nominees from New Jersey, Nebraska, Tennessee, California, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii are all pending on the Senate floor. Senate Democrats have repeatedly sought to confirm these nominees, all of whom have the support of their home state Senators and were overwhelmingly reported by the Judiciary Committee. However, Senate Republicans have blocked every request to clear the nominations backlog and confirm these nominees.... “I was heartened to hear the Majority Leader last week make the point that an election year is ‘not an excuse not to do our work.’ I whole-heartedly agree,” Leahy said. “The Supreme Court should not be held hostage to election year politics. I urge the Majority Leader to heed his own advice by scheduling confirmation votes on the lower court nominees we have pending, and I urge the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to follow suit by scheduling a confirmation hearing for Chief Judge Garland.”

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Supreme Court’s Decisions In Zubik v. Burwell and Spokeo v. Robbins
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/16/16
“In its decisions in Zubik and Spokeo today, the Supreme Court’s eight members could not serve their highest function under the Constitution, which is to definitively resolve legal disputes so that our laws apply uniformly across the Nation. ... the Court’s decision to remand Spokeo v. Robbins for further proceedings leaves unsettled law across the country on how and whether consumers can enforce statutory protections in court. The Spokeo case raises important privacy questions about Americans’ power to take action when incorrect information is posted about them online, but its implications for how statutes are enforced in court are far greater. ... Our Constitution ensures equal justice for all; not a patchwork of different rights in different parts of the country. This is precisely why the Senate must proceed with a public hearing and a vote for Chief Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated two months ago to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.”

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Need To Schedule A Confirmation Hearing For Chief Judge Merrick Garland, Nominee To Be Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court Of The United States
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/11/16
“Today Chairman Grassley noticed a confirmation hearing for judicial nominations to take place in the Judiciary Committee next week. Missing from the list of nominees called to testify is Chief Judge Garland, who this week submitted to the Committee an updated questionnaire for his nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Chairman Grassley has indicated that he will not take this nomination up in the lame duck session, which means we must do so now"

Sen. Leahy: Senate Republicans Have Not Confirmed A Single Judicial Nominee In Over A Month; While Senate Stalls, Judicial Vacancies Increase
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/10/16
Partisan obstruction of the federal judiciary has led to an increase in judicial vacancies, which today stand at 81—sharply up from 43 when Republicans took control of the Senate last year. To address this looming vacancy crisis, Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) sought Tuesday to confirm 11 nominees pending on the Senate floor. While confirming these nominees would help alleviate overburdened courts throughout the country, Republicans for the third month in a row refused Democratic requests to confirm any nominees. “The Senate has not confirmed a single judicial nominee in a month. Not one. And yet, Republicans continue to claim the Senate is back to work,” Senator Leahy said. “When qualified nominees who were unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee are left waiting for months, the Senate is not working. It is not fulfilling its constitutional role and it certainly is not doing the job of the American people who deserve prompt justice in our courts.”... Senate Republicans have allowed just 17 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. The result of Republican obstruction these last two years has been an uptick in judicial vacancies across the country. When Senate Republicans took over the majority in January of last year, there were 43 judicial vacancies. Since then, vacancies have dramatically increased more than 75 percent to 81. The number of judicial vacancies deemed to be “emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has more than doubled under Republican Senate leadership – from 12 when Republicans took over last year to 29 today.

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Questionnaire Submitted by Chief Judge Merrick Garland, Nominee To Be Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court Of The United States
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/10/16
“Chief Judge Garland has provided the Senate Judiciary Committee an updated questionnaire. He has done his part, and now it is time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to do its job by promptly reviewing the nominee’s record and scheduling a public confirmation hearing. I and my staff have begun reviewing Chief Judge Garland’s materials, and I expect Committee Republicans to do the same. A nominee to the highest court in the land deserves a full, fair, and public hearing, as the Senate has done for the last century. It is critical that Republicans end their unprecedented obstruction of Chief Judge Garland’s nomination so that we can confirm him by the summer, and ensure that the Supreme Court has its full complement of justices for the new term this fall.”

Sen. Cardin Continues Push to Move Forward Xinis, Garland and the Need for a Fully Functioning Judiciary
(Democrat - Maryland) 05/10/16
Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (2007-2010), took to the floor of the United States Senate again Tuesday to urge the Republican Majority to hold a vote on Marylander and District Court nominee Paula Xinis, and to hold a hearing and vote on Marylander Merrick Garland, nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Senate Republicans again objected to Senator Cardin’s request to confirm multiple consensus nominees, including Xinis. Urging the Republicans to “do their job,” Senator Cardin called the delays “outrageous and an affront to our system of checks and balances.” On Friday, Senator Cardin was joined by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Washington, D.C. Bureau Director Hillary Shelton and members of the Maryland legal community at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Md., to urge action on judicial vacancies. “We need nine justices on the Supreme Court and we need a fully functioning judiciary across the nation. In Maryland, we have an eminently qualified nominee, Paula Xinis, who has been waiting for months to fill a seat in Greenbelt. This vacancy is now a judicial emergency. There are qualified nominees for lower courts who are sitting in limbo because some Senate Republicans are unwilling to do their job and go through the confirmation process. Much like Judge Garland, many of these nominees once received glowing reviews from the very Senators who are now blocking them,” said Senator Cardin. “It is outrageous that the Senate leadership is deliberately allowing the number of judicial vacancies and judicial emergencies to grow; justice delayed is truly justice denied.”

Sen. Casey Floor statement [on five pending district and circuit court nominees from Pennsylvania]
(Democrat - Pennsylvania) 05/10/16
“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans again chose to block passage of these nominees today, including the two highly-qualified nominees from Pennsylvania, Judges Susan Baxter and Marilyn Horan. It’s time for Senate Republicans to stop the obstruction, do their job and give these nominees fair consideration,” Senator Casey said. “Even as they continue their outrageous obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination, Senate Republicans have virtually stopped confirming District and Circuit Court nominees, including the five currently pending from Pennsylvania. People in Pennsylvania and around the country are being denied access to basic justice because there aren’t enough judges to hear cases. It’s time for Senate Republicans to end the games and do their job.”

Sen. Coons Floor Statement on Federal Judiciary Vacancy Crisis
(Democrat - Delaware) 05/10/16
“Unfortunately, the Senate’s blockade and refusal to fulfill its constitutional obligation on judicial nominations goes far beyond Chief Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Senator Coons said. “Frankly, the federal judiciary faces a crisis because of the Senate’s continued inaction to confirm judicial nominees who passed unanimously out of committee. The number of judicial vacancies has reached an alarming level. We owe it to the American people to do our job and ensure we have a fully functioning justice system.”

Sen. Cardin Floor Statement Urges Senate GOP To Hold Votes on Judges
(Democrat - Maryland) 05/10/16
“We need nine justices on the Supreme Court and we need a fully functioning judiciary across the nation. In Maryland, we have an eminently qualified nominee, Paula Xinis, who has been waiting for months to fill a judicial emergency for a vacant seat in Greenbelt. There are qualified nominees for lower courts who are sitting in limbo because some Senate Republicans are unwilling to do their job and go through the confirmation process. Much like Judge Garland, many of these nominees once received glowing reviews from the very Senators who are now blocking them,” Senator Cardin said. “It is outrageous that the Senate leadership is deliberately allowing the number of judicial vacancies and judicial emergencies to grow, as justice delayed is justice denied.”

Sen. Leahy: Republicans’ Refusal To Do Their Jobs Means Our Courts Cannot Do Theirs—And Americans Suffer
(Democrat - Vermont) 05/05/16
"When Democrats held the Senate majority, we worked hard to fulfill our constitutional role to consider and confirm judicial nominees to fill vacancies in courts throughout the country. Despite constant obstruction by Senate Republicans who blocked President Obama’s nominees at every turn, we reduced the number of judicial vacancies to 43 by the end of 2014. ... Vacancies have increased 75 percent since Republicans took over the Senate majority.... There are 20 judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor who were all unanimously voice voted out of the Judiciary Committee. Several of them are from states with Republican home state Senators who support their nomination.... since taking over the majority last year, Republicans have confirmed just 17 judges. At this point in the last two years of the Bush administration with a Democratic Senate, we had confirmed 68 of President Bush’s judicial nominees.... here are 35 more judicial nominees awaiting a hearing, including 7 circuit court nominees. Three of these circuit court nominees have blue slips returned by both of their home state Senators and are ready for a hearing."

Sen. Reid: Republican Senate Set to Work Lightest Schedule In 60 Years
(Democrat - Nevada) 05/02/16
"[T]he chamber is on pace to work the fewest days in 60 years, the party continues to insist it won’t act on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, and Republicans’ ballyhooed strategy to shepherd all dozen spending bills through the chamber is in serious trouble.”

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Executive Business Meeting
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/28/16
"[L]ast week, we had our first judicial nominations hearing since January. ... In addition to Chief Judge Garland, we have seven circuit court nominees waiting for a hearing. Three of these circuit court nominees have both of their blue slips and are ready for a hearing. They should be on the next hearing. We also have 20 judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor who should all be confirmed, but Republican Leadership is refusing to do so. This week, they blocked a request from three Democratic Senators to vote on these nominees, who this Committee reported out by unanimous voice vote. It is our job to ensure that the Federal Judiciary – a co-equal and independent branch – can perform its function under our Constitution. That is not happening right now. Vacancies have increased from 43 to 79 since Republicans took over the majority. In some states, vacancies have reached such high levels that it is hard to see how individuals can obtain prompt justice. In Texas, for example, there are 10 vacancies. And in Alabama and Pennsylvania, there are six vacancies. So let us have hearings and vote on these nominees. We should do our job on this Committee and the full Senate needs to do its job on nominees we have already reported."

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - Vermont) 04/27/16
"It has now been 42 days since Chief Judge Merrick Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court. If we follow the average confirmation schedule for Supreme Court nominees over the last 40 years, the Judiciary Committee should be convening a hearing today on Chief Judge Garland’s nomination. The late Justice Scalia, whom Chief Judge Garland would replace on the Court, received a hearing 42 days after his nomination. And Democrats were in charge when the Senate last voted on a Supreme Court nominee in an election year when Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed in 1988. Justice Kennedy received a hearing in the Judiciary Committee just 14 days after President Reagan nominated him."

Sen. Boxer Floor Statement: JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS
(Democrat - California) 04/26/16
"I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues continue to play politics with our judicial system. There are currently 79 judicial vacancies in this country--28 of which are judicial emergency vacancies. In each of these districts across the country, Americans are waiting for their cases to be heard, but instead of justice, they are left hanging in the lurch. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Justice delayed is justice denied. Senate Republicans refuse to act to confirm Judge Merrick Garland--who has more Federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court candidate in history--to the Supreme Court, and they refuse to act on the 20 judicial nominees who were reported out of the Judiciary Committee by voice vote. It is outrageous that Senate Republicans stubbornly refuse to move these nominations forward, letting these accomplished and qualified nominees languish. One of those judges is Mark Young, an excellent nominee for the Central District Court of California, which is ranked 11th in the Nation in weighted case filings per judgeship. We need to fill this seat as soon as possible ... We also have two additional candidates from California who are awaiting Judiciary Committee hearings. Judge Paul L. Abrams was nominated by President Obama in December 2015 to serve as the U.S. District Court Judge for the Central District. ... Judge Lucy Koh, currently serving in the Northern District, was nominated by President Obama for the Ninth Circuit Court in February of this year. ... Let's move forward with giving each of these excellent judicial candidates the consideration and vote that they deserve."

Sen. Hirono Fights To Confirm Hawaii’s Clare Connors To Federal Bench: Senate Republicans Block Connors, Other Qualified Judicial Nominees; Republican Obstructionism On Track To Keep Seat On Hawaii’s Federal Bench Vacant For Over A Year
(Democrat - Hawaii) 04/26/16
Senator Mazie K. Hirono today took to the Senate floor to call for unanimous consent to confirm Hawaii’s Clare Connors and other judicial nominees from courts across the country who have been waiting months, and in some cases over a year, for a floor vote. In yet another showing of Senate Republicans’ refusal to do their job and hold confirmation votes on qualified judicial nominees, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked Senator Hirono’s request. Senator Hirono also called on Senate Republicans to take up the nomination of Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. “While my colleagues and I attempted to fulfill our duties as Senators by voting to fill urgent vacancies on the federal bench, Senate Republicans continue to refuse to do their jobs, which delays justice from our district courts to the Supreme Court,” said Senator Hirono. “Clare Connors was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan basis, but she and other qualified nominees are being kept in limbo by Republican inaction. I call upon my Republican colleagues to enable all of us to do our jobs and begin the advice and consent process, which we are required to do under the Constitution.”