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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


Senator's Party
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TN Sens. gave Sheryl Lipman district court nomination "blue slip" allowing it to proceed
(Republican - Tennessee) 11/27/13
Tennessee's Republican senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, ... both gave the nomination a so-called "blue slip" allowing it to proceed.

Sen. Blunt supports Doug Harpool district court nomination
(Republican - Missouri) 11/25/13
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he will support Harpool’s nomination. “In his public career, I haven’t agreed with everything he’s done,” Blunt said. “But he will, I think, be a fair judge ... and I believe he’ll be confirmed.”

Sens. Casey & Toomey
(Democrat, Republican - Pennsylvania) 11/22/13
Democrat Bob Casey of Scranton and Republican Pat Toomey of Lehigh Valley told the Tribune-Review their opposite opinions would not bruise their ability to work together on executive and judicial nominees. Casey said he and Toomey “have developed a successful bipartisan process to recommend highly qualified individuals to the White House,” and those candidates were confirmed “by strong majorities in the Senate.” “Pennsylvanians expect and deserve to have two senators who work together to place highly capable jurists on the bench, who are fair and uphold high ethical standards,” he said. Toomey said their working relationship will transcend the rule change. Since 2011, Toomey supported Obama's three judicial nominees; two are Western Pennsylvanians and filling the vacancies was overdue, he said at the time.

Sen. Heller Statement on Use of “Nuclear Option” in U.S. Senate
(Republican - Nevada) 11/21/13
“This is a sad day for the United States Senate, and a scary day for Nevada. While today we are discussing nominations, what assurances are there that today’s changes will not apply to future legislation?"

Sen. Johanns: Reid’s Action Muzzles Voices of Nebraskans in Senate
(Republican - Nebraska) 11/21/13
“We’re talking about lifetime appointments to the bench, and this change will allow the most radical of nominees to be confirmed. This is about Senate Democrats issuing a gag order on the voices of the minority, just to direct attention away from the disastrous health care law.”

SEN. COCHRAN OPPOSES DEMOCRATS’ “NUCLEAR OPTION” Miss. Senator Calls New Filibuster Rule a Mistake That Diminishes Constitutional Responsibilities
(Republican - Mississippi) 11/21/13
“The Democratic majority’s action to overturn nearly 225 years of precedent will transform how the United States Senate conducts its business, and not for the better. Allowing a simple majority to end debate is a mistake and greatly diminishes the Senate’s responsibility to provide advice and consent as set out in the Constitution. The Senate was never intended to operate like the House of Representatives or to serve as a rubber stamp for any President. This historic institution and the American people have lost something very important and special.”

Sen. Wicker Statement on the ‘Nuclear Option’
(Republican - Mississippi) 11/21/13
“The raw abuse of power being displayed by Senate Democrats is reminiscent of their purely partisan efforts to pass Obamacare four years ago. Further, they have tarnished the integrity of the institution by ignoring 225 years of precedent and trampling the rights of the minority party and the millions of Americans we represent. The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be the most deliberative legislative body the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, actions taken today by the majority party have upended the chamber’s tradition of thoughtful and reasoned legislating.”

Sen. Ayotte Statement Regarding "Nuclear Option"
(Republican - New Hampshire) 11/21/13
""The Democrats' vote to invoke the ‘nuclear option' and fundamentally change the rules of the Senate is a raw power grab which is deeply disappointing.... The Senate has a constitutional advice and consent role when it comes to the president's nominees, and Senate rules have long protected the rights of the minority party. At a time when Americans want members of both parties to be working together, this partisan power play will only further inflame the partisan divide in Washington. ... I welcomed the opportunity to meet personally with Patricia Millett, and was impressed by her legal credentials, and I certainly appreciate her experiences as a military spouse. But given the DC Circuit's declining caseload, the addition of a new judge to this bench isn't justified."

Sen. Blunt on Ronnie White renomination
(Republican - Missouri) 11/18/13
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said last week that he intended to return the “blue slip” on the White nomination, a sign-off from the home-state senators that is generally needed for the Judiciary Committee to take up the matter. Returning of “blue slips” is rather routine and does not suggest approval or support. “This is impacted by Ronnie White’s 10 years on the … Missouri Supreme Court, after his first nomination,” Blunt emphasized last week, while declining to take a position on the nomination itself.

Former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) on back-to-back filibuster rejections of D.C. Circuit nominees
(Republican - Maine) 11/18/13
Former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe said in an interview that the partisan warfare over the shape of the courts does little to thwart the public’s low regard for Congress. “It does contribute to the whole perception, the reality that the Congress is consistently dysfunctional and can’t agree on anything,” Snowe said. “When you have these back-to-back rejections of nominees, at some point it may be trying to reverse the results of the election.” ... In 2005, “we were all disposed towards attempting to come up with a resolution because it threatened the traditions of the United States Senate,” Snowe said. “Whether enough people feel that impetus [today] is another question.”

Hatch Statement on Judiciary Committee Approval of Judge Carolyn McHugh for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
(Republican - Utah) 11/14/13
“Judge McHugh is an extremely well-respected jurist and I know she will do an outstanding job in this new role,” Hatch said. “Her varied legal experience to date has given her a great foundation for serving on the federal court, and I hope the Senate will act quickly so Judge McHugh can begin her service on the 10th Circuit.”

Sen. Moran Introduces Justice Moritz as Nominee for the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
(Republican - Kansas) 11/13/13
“Justice Moritz comes before the committee highly qualified and greatly prepared as the result of a distinguished legal career both in private and public practice,” Sen. Moran said. “Nancy was raised in the small Kansas town of Tipton. I know the people of Tipton well; I have witnessed their character, kindness, work ethic, and a genuine concern for others. I am confident this sense of community has been instilled in our nominee and that her service on the Tenth Circuit will be guided by the values we hold dear in Kansas, including empathy for others and respect for the rule of law.”

VIDEO: Sen. Kirk Encourages Swift Confirmation of Manish Shah: Anti-Corruption Record Important for Northern District
(Republican - Illinois) 11/13/13
“Manish Shah heads the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office where he has substantial management responsibility," Senator Kirk said. "He is responsible for overseeing the work of over 130 people – more than most U.S. Attorney offices. As a federal trial judge, Senator Durbin and I agree Manish Shah will be outstanding in his service to our country."

Sen. Alexander Votes Against Obama Judicial Nominee: Says vote to end debate on nomination of Cornelia Pillard to D.C. Circuit would be “premature”
(Republican - Tennessee) 11/12/13
“I voted against ending debate on President Obama’s nominee to the D.C. Circuit because I think such a vote would be premature,” Alexander said. “I’ll not vote to end debate on the president’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit until the Senate does in 2013 what Democratic senators suggested and the Senate did in 2007: move judges from where they are not needed to where they are needed most.”

Sen. Toomey Introduces PA’s Eastern District Nominees At Senate Judiciary Hearing
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 11/08/13
"I was honored to introduce Gerald McHugh and Judge Edward Smith during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting," said Sen. Toomey. "I've worked closely with Sen. Casey on judicial nominations for our state to help confirm qualified, experienced individuals with unquestioned honesty, ability, and integrity. I am confident these nominees will live up to those standards and hope the Senate confirms them in a timely manner."

Sen. Johanns & Fischer: Judicial Nominations for U.S. District Court
(Republican - Nebraska) 11/07/13
"Typically, home state senators and the White House Counsel work together to select qualified candidates to fill U.S. District Court judgeship vacancies. We invite applications from qualified candidates. "

Sens. Chambliss and Isakson joint statement on judicial vacancies
(Republican - Georgia) 11/05/13
Chambliss and Isakson issued a joint statement in response to Johnson’s remarks. “We seek to fill Georgia’s open federal judicial seats with qualified candidates, regardless of their gender, race or party affiliation,” the statement said. “One need only look at the appointments to the bench under Presidents Bush and Obama to see that excellent lawyers have been confirmed during our time in the Senate, irrespective of their political philosophy. We work with every president, Republican or Democrat, to find the best nominees.”

Sen. Cochran Floor Statement supporting confirmation of Debra Brown to ND MS district court
(Republican - Mississippi) 11/04/13
"I am pleased to support the confirmation of Ms. Debra Brown to be a U.S. district court judge for the Northern District of Mississippi."

Sen. Wicker Floor Statement in strong support of Debra Brown confirmation to N.D. MS district court
(Republican - Mississippi) 11/04/13
"As one of Mississippi's two U.S. Senators, I enthusiastically recommend Ms. Brown based upon her qualifications. In addition, I am thrilled and honored to be part of this historic moment for our State. If confirmed, Ms. Brown will become the first female African-American U.S. district judge in Mississippi. ... It is clear that Ms. Brown will bring a unique perspective to the court, drawing upon a diverse professional and educational background."

Sen. Collins on vote to end filibuster of D.C. Circuit nominee Patricia Millett
(Republican - Maine) 11/03/13
Maine Sen. Susan Collins was one of two Republicans – the other being Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – to side with Democrats to end the filibuster. ... Collins actually agrees with her Republican colleagues that some of that court’s judicial seats should reallocated to other courts, arguing that “by nearly every measure the D.C. Circuit has the lightest caseload of any federal appellate court.” But Collins said she voted for Millett because she deemed her “superbly qualified to serve as a federal judge” and because a reallocation bill is unlikely to pass. “During my personal meeting with her, I was more than satisfied that she would bring a restrained judicial philosophy to the court and has an ideal judicial temperament,” Collins said in a statement.

Sen. Grassley Statement at Judiciary Committee Hearing on John B. Owens Ninth Circuit Nomination
(Republican - Iowa) 10/30/13
"Today we consider a nominee to the 9th Circuit, ... I am not suggesting that I know the right way to handle the situation here, but it is important to remember how the Democrats treated the last nominee to this seat – a seat, I would like to remind my fellow committee members, that does not ‘belong’ to any state. In fact, this seat has been filled by judges sitting in Idaho, California, Washington and Oregon....

SEN. ROB PORTMAN Op-Ed on D.C. Circuit Nominees
(Republican - Ohio) 10/30/13
"I’ve cosponsored the Court Efficiency Act, which transfers two authorized judgeships from the D.C. Circuit to other courts that do have busy dockets and need them and eliminates a third as a cost-saving measure."

Sen. Cornyn Floor Statement
(Republican - Texas) 10/29/13
"in the aftermath of the battle over the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling, I am sure I am not alone in hearing from my constituents they are hoping that Democrats and Republicans can now work together on some of the most important and chronic problems that challenge our country. ... the President and Democratic leadership to pack the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.... Some have called it the second most important court in the Nation because it has jurisdiction over a variety of regulatory and constitutional matters....Meanwhile, there are courts across our country, both appellate courts and district courts, that are overburdened. Some of these courts are labeled as judicial emergencies because they simply have such a heavy caseload they can't get the work done."

Sen. Grassley Testimony to House Judiciary Committee
(Republican - Iowa) 10/29/13
“And, we have all heard the President pledge that if Congress doesn’t act, then he will simply go around it through executive order. But of course, that strategy works only if the D.C. Circuit rubber stamps those executive actions.”