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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


Senator's Party
Senator's State
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(Republican - Alabama) 02/13/16
"It is wrong to view the Court’s division as a matter of politics, at least for the orthodox judges. They found their judgment on law not politics. It is our responsibility to the American people and our Constitutional heritage to ensure that Justice Scalia’s legacy on the Court is carried on.”

Sen. McConnell on passing of Justice Antonin Scalia
(Republican - Kentucky) 02/13/16
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

Sen. Grassley Statement on Justice Scalia
(Republican - Iowa) 02/13/16
“The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year. Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this President, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice.”

Sen. Shelby Statement on the Passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
(Republican - Alabama) 02/13/16
“This great loss brings on a great responsibility for the United States Senate. Justice Scalia’s replacement should be considered carefully and thoughtfully because it is vital to our nation’s future that we confirm a justice who will continue his legacy. I will adamantly oppose any attempt by President Obama to fill this vacancy during the remainder of his term.”

Sen. Blunt says new Supreme Court Justice should be chosen by next president
(Republican - Missouri) 02/13/16
“This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land,” Blunt said in a statement responding to a question posed by the Post-Dispatch. “Americans will be voting in just a few months, and that election should help determine the next member of the Supreme Court. The Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until we have a new president.”

Sen. Grassley: Iowa Federal Judicial Nominee, Leonard Strand, Clears Senate
(Republican - Iowa) 02/11/16
Senator Chuck Grassley said today that the nomination of Judge Leonard Strand of Sioux City to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Iowa was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 93-0. “Judge Strand’s integrity, legal acumen and appreciation for the Constitution will make him an exception judge in the Northern District. I have great respect for what he’s done over his career, both in private practice and as a magistrate judge. I appreciate my colleagues’ votes in favor of his nomination,” Grassley said.... Today’s vote was held after an agreement in December between both the Republican and Democratic leaders that Ebinger and Strand would be two of five judicial nominees to be voted on before President’s Day. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley helped lead the effort to reach the agreement.

Sens. Sessions & Shelby joint statement on 11th Circuit nomination of Judge Kallon
(Republican - Alabama) 02/11/16
"Throughout the process of meeting with the White House on filling judicial vacancies, we negotiated in good faith to find nominees that will serve our state well," they said. "While we thought progress had been made, apparently the White House was never interested in good faith negotiations, and it is too late now."

Sen. Ernst: Iowa Federal District Court Nominee, Judge Leonard Terry Strand, Confirmed by Senate
(Republican - Iowa) 02/11/16
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) released the follow statement after voting to confirm Leonard Terry Strand, as a judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa: “I’m pleased to see Judge Strand confirmed as a federal judge for the Northern District of Iowa. He is dedicated to serving the people of Iowa and I look forward to continuing to follow his outstanding career as he continues to serve our great state and nation. “I would also like to thank Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and the members of the Judicial Selection Commission for their due diligence and hard work throughout the nomination process.”

Sen. Grassley: Iowa Federal Judicial Nominee, Ebinger, Clears Senate
(Republican - Iowa) 02/09/16
"I’m very proud of the work my colleague, Senator Ernst, and I have done to fill vacancies in Iowa’s district courts by putting forward two exceptionally talented and qualified nominees, Judges Ebinger and Strand. I said this in committee, but for the benefit of all my colleagues, the Iowa nominees are two of the best judicial candidates the President has nominated during his Presidency."

{Sen. Gardner] Bennet, Gardner Send Recommendations for Colorado Judicial Vacancy to White House
(Republican - Colorado) 02/09/16
Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner today sent their recommendations to fill the upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Judge Robert Blackburn announced that he will take senior status in April, creating the vacancy and leaving the already overworked District court with six judges.... "I'm proud of the progress that's been made to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado," said Gardner. "Judges are the guardians of the Constitution and I am confident each nominee would preside as someone who interprets the law and not makes the law. We sent strong candidates to the White House, and I look forward to working to confirm a nominee for the judgeship." Bennet and Gardner both recommended Judge Kristen Mix, a Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado; Regina Rodriguez, a partner at Hogan Lovells in Denver; and Sam Walker, the Global Chief People and Legal Officer at Molson Coors Brewing Company in Golden. Senator Gardner also recommended Patrick O'Rourke who is the head litigation attorney in the Office of University Counsel for the University of Colorado.

Sen. Ernst: Iowa Federal District Court Nominee Confirmed by Senate
(Republican - Iowa) 02/08/16
“I want to congratulate Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger on her confirmation to serve as a federal judge for the Southern District of Iowa. I have tremendous respect for Judge Ebinger’s impressive career and her commitment to public service. Judge Ebinger’s nomination is the result of an extensive search conducted by a Judicial Selection Commission formed by Senator Grassley. I greatly appreciate the hard work and thoroughness of Senator Grassley and his staff throughout the nomination process.”

Sen. Hoeven undecided on Obama's ND judicial nominee
(Republican - North Dakota) 02/07/16
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said he has an "open mind" but is still reviewing President Obama's nomination of Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Obama last week nominated Puhl, an assistant U.S. attorney based in Fargo .... Hoeven said he had forwarded the name of Shon Kaelberer Hastings, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge and a former assistant U.S. attorney in Fargo, but Obama instead chose Puhl. Nonetheless, Hoeven said, "I have an open mind." The senator said he has an appointment to meet with Puhl in North Dakota later this month. "I'll interview her and make a decision," Hoeven said. "I'll look at her record." Historically, few judicial nominees put forward in a president's eighth year win approval, Hoeven said. President George W. Bush won Senate confirmation of two judicial nominees, President Clinton one and President Reagan two, Hoeven said. "It's tough to move 'em," he said. "It's particularly tough to move them in the eighth year of a presidency."

Sen. Johnson Comments on Judge Randa Move
(Republican - Wisconsin) 02/05/16
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said this upon the announcement that U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa will take senior status in the Eastern District of Wisconsin: “Judge Randa is a true public servant and patriot. I appreciate his thoughtful opinions and judgments that always seek to apply the law, not rewrite it. I am pleased that the Eastern District of Wisconsin will continue to get the benefit of his service as he transitions to senior status on the bench.”

POLITICO quotes Sen. Perdue on blocking hearing for district court nominee
(Republican - Georgia) 02/02/16
Lopez has run afoul of Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who's blocking him from a federal judgeship in the Northern District of Georgia, citing Lopez’s lengthy involvement with a nonpartisan Latino state group .... “I’ve made my decision. I’m not going to reverse that decision,” Perdue said in a recent interview. “I think it’s the right thing to do to protect the integrity of the bench and the nomination process.”

Republican Home-State Senators Urge Immediate Action on Federal Judicial Nominees Pending in Feb. 2016 (IN, IA, KS, NE, OK, PA, TN, UT)
(Republican - Utah, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas) 02/01/16
Links and Quotations

GA Sens. talk to Huff Post about Sen. Perdue denial of hearing to Dax Lopez, district court nominee he had recommended
(Republican - Georgia) 01/29/16
His change of heart on Lopez caught some people off guard, including Isakson, who said it was the wrong move. "I respect his decision, but I think he should have had a hearing," Isakson told The Huffington Post on Thursday. "He was vetted thoroughly before he was nominated, so he's a good man." HuffPost caught up with Perdue and asked why he wouldn't give Lopez a hearing so he could at least answer questions about his role at GALEO. That's what Lopez himself has said is the most frustrating aspect of it all. "Part of my responsibility as a member of the committee is that, if I blue slip a person, I feel like I have to support that person," Perdue said. That's not true, though. Agreeing to give someone a hearing doesn't mean you have to vote for them. It just means they get a hearing. Perdue disagreed. "No, I felt like I have that responsibility to the committee," he said. "If I'm not going to support the nominee, why would I recommend him for a hearing?" When HuffPost said doing so would let the full committee decide if Lopez should move forward, Perdue was done with the conversation. "Well, that was my decision. Thank you," he said, walking away.

AP quotes Sen. Roberts on Campbell district court nomination
(Republican - Kansas) 01/29/16
The state’s other Republican senator, Pat Roberts, also praised the nominee but stopped short of a commitment. Roberts said in an email that the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin to examine Campbell’s credentials, the first step in a thorough vetting process. “Terry Campbell enjoys a good reputation in both the Kansas legal community and the community of Lawrence, where he has raised his family,” Roberts said.

Sen. Moran Supports Terrence Campbell as Nominee for United States District Court for the District of Kansas
(Republican - Kansas) 01/29/16
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today signaled support for the nomination of Mr. Terrence Campbell of Lawrence, Kan., to fill a judicial vacancy in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. “Providing advice and consent for Presidential nominees is one of the most important roles of the United States Senate and a responsibility I take very seriously,” Sen. Moran said. “Mr. Campbell is a respected lawyer with high qualifications that make him a strong nominee to fill the vacant federal judgeship in the District of Kansas. I look forward to supporting his Senate confirmation.”

AP quotes Sen. Moran looking forward to supporting Senate confirmation of Campbell district court nomination
(Republican - Kansas) 01/29/16
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican, in an email Friday said he looks forward to supporting his Senate confirmation. "Providing advice and consent for Presidential nominees is one of the most important roles of the United States Senate and a responsibility I take very seriously," Moran said. "Mr. Campbell is a respected lawyer with high qualifications that make him a strong nominee to fill the vacant federal judgeship in the District of Kansas."

Sen. Toomey on Judiciary Committee approval of two PA district court nominees and delay of two others
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 01/29/16
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, also said he was glad for Baxter and Horan's approval in the committee, adding, "I hope the Judiciary Committee also will approve Judge Robert J. Colville to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Judge John M. Younge to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania."

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting January 28, 2016
(Republican - Iowa) 01/28/16
"We have three nominees to be District Court Judge. They are: - Mary McElroy, District of Rhode Island - Susan Baxter, Western District of Pennsylvania - Marilyn Horan, Western District of Pennsylvania I’d note that we didn’t include the other two district court nominees from Pennsylvania on this week’s agenda. Members on our side are still reviewing their records and answers to written questions. After consulting with the Senators from Pennsylvania, they indicated they’d like the Pennsylvania nominees on today’s agenda to move out of Committee, so we will vote on all three nominees on the agenda today."

Sen. Toomey: Judge Nominees for Pittsburgh and Erie Clear Judiciary Committee
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 01/28/16
"I am delighted that Judges Baxter and Horan are one step closer to Senate confirmation with the Judiciary Committee's favorable action today," said Sen. Toomey. "It's an honor to work with Sen. Casey on a bipartisan basis to recommend Pennsylvanians who have the acumen, integrity, and respect for the limited role of the judiciary that they need to excel as federal judges. And we have had great success over the years. "I am especially glad to see progress in confirming a judge who will sit in the federal courthouse in Erie, which has been vacant for 2 ½ years. "I hope the Judiciary Committee also will approve Judge Robert J. Colville to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Judge John M. Younge to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania."

Senator David Perdue Statement On Georgia Judicial Nomination
(Republican - Georgia) 01/21/16
“Considering a nominee for lifetime appointment to our federal courts is one of the most significant responsibilities I have as a United States Senator and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I take this responsibility all the more seriously when considering nominees to federal courts in my home state of Georgia. “After a thorough review of the professional and judicial record of DeKalb County Judge Dax Lopez, I have become uncomfortable with his longstanding participation in a controversial organization including his service on its board of directors. I am particularly concerned with his continued participation with this organization and his public comments after he became a state judge. Unfortunately, our personal meeting, while cordial and informative, did not fully alleviate my concerns. Furthermore, I believe similar concerns would be raised by many of my colleagues, making Judge Lopez’s final confirmation unattainable. “I thank Judge Lopez for his service to the people of DeKalb County, but I am unable to support his nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia moving forward.”

Sen. Isakson on Sen. Perdue blocking hearing on Judge Dax Lopez distrct court nomination
(Republican - Georgia) 01/21/16
Sen. Isakson said he respected Perdue’s decision but is “disappointed that Judge Lopez won’t get a hearing.”

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
(Republican - Iowa) 01/21/16
"We have three nominees to be District Court Judge. They are: - Mary McElroy, District of Rhode Island - Susan Baxter, Western District of Pennsylvania - Marilyn Horan, Western District of Pennsylvania This is the first time they are on the agenda and there is a request to hold them over, so they’ll be held over. I’d note that we didn’t include the other two district court nominees from Pennsylvania on this week’s agenda. Those nominees didn’t thoroughly answer several of the written questions we asked. We then sent follow-up written questions seeking clarification. While we are currently reviewing these responses to the follow-up questions I will say it’s important that nominees respect the process and respond to the questions Senators ask."

Sen. Ron Johnson Responds to Judicial Nomination of Donald K. Schott
(Republican - Wisconsin) 01/12/16
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) responded Tuesday to news of the nomination of Donald Karl Schott of Madison to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit. Johnson said this: "While I remain disappointed that the process that resulted in the successful confirmation of two district court's judges was short-circuited in the case of Mr. Schott's nomination, I will review this appointment thoroughly and fairly. Until a candidate is nominated by the White House, his background check by the FBI is not made available to senators. Now that Mr. Schott has been nominated, I plan to review his file and conduct other appropriate vetting before making any determinations."

Sen. Coats Responds to President’s Nominations for Indiana Judicial Vacancies
(Republican - Indiana) 01/12/16
Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today announced that he will support the nomination of Winfield Denton Ong in order to address the pressing judicial emergency in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana....“The Judicial Conference of the United States has declared a judicial emergency in Indiana’s Southern District, and this important role needs to be filled quickly,” said Coats. “The role demands a sharp legal mind and a thoughtful, fair temperament. After carefully reviewing Winfield Ong’s record and background and meeting with him personally, I believe he is qualified for this position.” ... In addition to nominating Ong, the White House also announced the nomination of Myra Selby for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Coats reiterated his call for the establishment of an Indiana Federal Nominating Commission to make recommendations on this and other judicial vacancies affecting the Hoosier state. Senator Coats originally called for the creation of a judicial selection commission last May. “The citizens of Indiana will be best served by a nomination process that is taken completely out of politics,” said Coats. “We still have time to establish an equitable process for the remainder of this Congress. Myra Selby’s nomination should be considered by an Indiana Federal Nominating Commission.”

POLITICO quotes Sen. Cornyn on judicial nominees
(Republican - Texas) 01/11/16
Beyond the four already slated for votes, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the nominee pipeline isn’t quite entirely closed. “There is a point at which, traditionally, no additional judicial nominees are considered until the election,” Cornyn said. “There’s no formal rule or plan to my knowledge” to begin a cutoff now.

Sen. Toomey Floor Statement [on Judge Restrepo and other Judicial Nominees and Vacancies]
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 01/11/16
"Senator Casey and I have been working very closely for 5 years now, since I joined the Senate, working to fill the vacancies that occur on the Federal bench across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that we represent. With Judge Restrepo's confirmation tonight, which I am hopeful and confident will occur, Senator Casey and I will have been able to play a role in filling 16 vacancies on the Federal bench, including 14 district court vacancies that have occurred since the time I arrived in Senate and two Third Circuit court vacancies....Because we have worked closely together, not only have we filled these vacancies, but we have filled courthouses--Federal courthouses meant to house Federal judges--that have been vacant for years.... I think, and I hope, we are close to filling an empty courthouse in Erie, PA. Erie is kind of by itself out there in the northwest corner of our great State, and there ought to be Federal judge in the Erie courthouse. We are well in the process of making sure that there will be, and I am sure it will come to a close soon."

Sen. Grassley: Judicial Nominations Update, Luis Restrepo Confirmation for the Congressional Record
(Republican - Iowa) 01/11/16
"For example, last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings for 35 nominees. That’s exactly what the Committee did in 2007, when we also held hearings for a total of 35 nominees. Furthermore, I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, there is no judicial vacancy “crisis.” ...The Senate Judiciary Committee will continue to hold hearings this year on judicial nominees and we’ll continue to do our due diligence in evaluating those nominees. ... But I don’t view it as a productive effort to continue with the finger pointing and the negative back and forth regarding the previous pace or outcome of judicial nominations."