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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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McCain: Obama’s 3 D.C. Circuit Nominees Deserve Votes
(Republican - Arizona) 06/18/13
SAHIL KAPUR: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Wednesday that President Obama's three nominees to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals deserve up-or-down votes, contradicting his Republican colleagues who insist the vacancies need not be filled. "I've always believed that," he told a few reporters in response to a question from TPM. Referring to his successful efforts to avoid filibuster reform, he said, "There has to be extraordinary circumstances to vote against them." "Elections have consequences," McCain said, and then added with a smile: "Tragically."

Sen. Toomey Floor Statement supporting Judge Restrepo district court nomination
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 06/17/13
"I would also like to thank Senator Casey for his collaboration in our bipartisan effort to fill Pennsylvania's judicial vacancies with exceptional candidates. Over the past 2 1/2 years, we have worked together to identify and recommend eight candidates, seven of whom have been confirmed. The people of Pennsylvania value this bipartisan spirit and I am pleased our joint efforts have led to today's consideration of Judge Restrepo."

Sens. Casey, Toomey Praise Senate Confirmation Of Judge Luis Restrepo To PA’s Eastern District
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 06/17/13
"Since joining the Senate, I've worked closely with Sen. Casey on judicial nominations for Pennsylvania to help confirm qualified, experienced individuals who have unquestioned honesty, ability and integrity," said Sen. Toomey. "Luis Felipe Restrepo has served honorably since 2006 as a U.S. District magistrate judge. He has also dedicated himself to giving back to the community through his involvement in the Police/Barrio Project and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I'm confident he will live up to the very highest standards as a U.S. District Judge for Pennsylvania's Eastern District."

Sen. Heller on Senate Filibusters
(Republican - Nevada) 06/16/13
"I remain concerned," Heller told The Washington Examiner. "The nuclear option, they claim will be limited only to judicial nominations. But I don't believe that for a second. Once they get a taste of the 50-vote threshold, I think this thing spreads to every other issue." "The day is going to come that either he's not here or the Republicans take control and if it's a 50-vote threshold, those kind of issues are the ones that concern me the most," Heller said. "When you're from a small state, you need as many arrows in your quiver as possible to fight back on some of these issues that you can be overtaken by. And, frankly, this 60-vote threshold is what has protected and saved Nevada in the past."

Sen. Orrin Hatch: Judges confrontation a made up fight; Fill other court vacancies first.
(Republican - Utah) 06/16/13
"Using any relevant benchmark, and even with fewer active judges than in 2006, the D.C. Circuit has the lowest caseload in the country. ... Judges who have taken "senior status" also handle cases, and the D.C. Circuit's ratio of senior-to-active judges is nearly the highest of any circuit. ... What has changed is the number of vacancies labeled "judicial emergencies" because of their age and caseload."

Sen. Pat Toomey's E-Update: Confirming Two Judges for PA's Eastern District
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 06/14/13
"President Obama nominated these two judges last November upon a joint recommendation from Sen. Bob Casey and me. Since joining the Senate, I've worked closely with Sen. Casey to fill Pennsylvania's judicial vacancies with qualified, experienced judges who have unquestioned honesty, ability and integrity. I believe both of these individuals meet this high standard. In her 21 years on the bench, Nitza Quiñones Alejandro has presided over many cases incorporating different facets of the law. ... She is eminently qualified and a committed public servant. Moreover, I am proud that Judge Quiñones will be the first Latina judge to serve in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Jeffrey Schmehl's colleagues appointed him president judge of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas in 2008, ... He has a passion for the law and will be a dedicated jurist. I also am pleased that Judge Schmehl will be sitting in the Reading federal courthouse which has long needed a new judge. I am confident that Judges Quiñones and Schmehl will serve Pennsylvania well."

Sen. Toomey Floor Statement on Judicial Confirmations, Senate Rules and PA District Court Nominees
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 06/13/13
"Republicans are cooperating and confirming the nominees of a Democratic President, and this is as it should be when the nominees are competent, as they have been....I think it is terrific that we are able to vote today to confirm both of these judges . I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Casey to fill the remaining vacancies across Pennsylvania. I thank Chairman Leahy for his work in advancing these nominees."

Sen. Grassley Talks about B. Todd Jones, Tony West, Valerie Caproni, Metal Theft Legislation
(Republican - Iowa) 06/13/13
"I also wanted to address the nomination of Ms. Caproni, to be a District Judge. I have concerns over the fact that I made a request to the FBI more than six years ago, asking for documents regarding exigent letters. ... I have followed up with the FBI with specific requests regarding Ms. Caproni’s involvement in the matter. Therefore, while I did not hold Ms. Caproni’s nomination in Committee, I reserve my right to do so on the Senate floor."

Senator Kirk Picks Manish Shah for Appointment to be Northern District of Illinois Court Judge
(Republican - Illinois) 06/11/13
“I am proud to put forward the name of Manish Shah to be the next federal district court judge for Northern Illinois,” Senator Kirk said. “He’s the most experienced prosecutor we have, and because of his stellar record in working with former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, I think he is the best one for the bench. I look forward to working with Senator Durbin to make sure we have highly-skilled candidates like Shah to help strengthen our courts and clean up Illinois.”

Sen. Blunt on Obama Judicial Nominations
(Republican - Missouri) 06/07/13
"We all know that the D.C. court has too many judges on it. It's not a busy court," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). "I would think that the president is ill-advised to just immediately try to look for one other opportunity to establish confrontation, unless he's just trying to change the subject."

Sen. McCain on Obama D.C. Circuit Nominations
(Republican - Arizona) 06/07/13
Other Republicans were far less interested in waging war over the D.C. Circuit nominees. "I've always thought that judges should get votes. Elections have consequences," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "He wants to obviously get his nominees to the second most important court in America."

Sen. Enzi on Obama D.C. Circuit Nominations
(Republican - Wyoming) 06/07/13
"I don't have any opinion," Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said as he walked away.

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Obama D.C. Circuit Nominations
(Republican - South Carolina) 06/07/13
"I've been pretty good on voting for judges if I think they're qualified and not ideologues," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "Some of my colleagues feel that the D.C. Circuit is sort of overdone. I haven't made my mind up yet."

Sen. Alexander on Obama D.C. Circuit Nominations
(Republican - Tennessee) 06/07/13
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) fumed at Obama for creating a sense of urgency behind the three nominees and, more broadly, for criticizing Republicans for obstruction. He said his party has confirmed 19 of Obama's judges so far this year, compared to the four judges that Democrats had confirmed for President George W. Bush by this point in his second term. "When you win an election, particularly when you win a second election, you should stop campaigning and start governing," Alexander said. "This business of threatening the Congress and inventing a crisis is unpresidential, unproductive and embarrassing for him to act that way."

Sen. Sessions on Obama D.C. Circuit Nominations
(Republican - Alabama) 06/07/13
"My concern is that every slot on this circuit does not need to be filled," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I'll continue to look at the caseload and see where we are."

Sen. Coburn on Obama Judicial Nominations and Filibuster Reform
(Republican - Oklahoma) 06/07/13
"You don't need any more in that circuit. It's the most underworked circuit in the country," said a visibly agitated Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). "I think we're playing politics." Coburn stormed off when asked about the prospect of Reid changing filibuster rules. "I'm not even going to go there," he said.

Sen. McConnell Questions ‘Appropriateness’ Of Confirming New Obama Judicial Nominees
(Republican - Kentucky) 06/04/13
McConnell didn’t commit to using a filibuster to block up-or-down votes on Obama’s three new picks to the second highest federal court, but questioned “the appropriateness of confirming these three judges.” He dodged a question about whether he believes the nominees should only be filibustered under “extraordinary circumstances” — which is theoretically the standard senators have agreed to for when it’s appropriate for the minority to block nominees. “I think the issue, if there is one, with regard to the D.C. Circuit, is whether this circuit court — which is apparently less busy than all but one circuit court in the nation — needs to have a full complement of judges,” he said.... “We’re going to deal with those nominees as we have others,” he said. “You know, we’ve confirmed an overwhelming number of judges for President Obama. … So the president’s been treated very fairly on judicial [nominees].”

Sen. Hatch on D.C. Circuit nominations
(Republican - Utah) 06/04/13
Another senior Republican on the panel, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, added that Obama’s nomination of three individuals at once “is a political thing more than anything else, just to shove it to Republicans and also to get off” more politically painful topics.

Sen. Lee Statement on Unneeded Nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
(Republican - Utah) 06/04/13
"The President’s refusal to respect Senate precedent regarding the D.C. Circuit and his opposition to legislation that would distribute judgeships to courts that actually need them makes clear that today’s nominations are nothing more than a political ploy to advance a partisan agenda.”

Sen. Sessions on D.C. Circuit vacancies
(Republican - Alabama) 06/04/13
“My take is every slot on this circuit does not need to be filled,” said Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “At some point you don’t need to be approving judges that don’t have enough work to do.”

Grassley Reacts to News Reports that Say President Obama will Nominate Three for DC Circuit
(Republican - Iowa) 06/03/13
“It’s hard to imagine the rationale for nominating three judges at once for this court given the many vacant emergency seats across the country, unless your goal is to pack the court to advance a certain policy agenda."

Confirmation of Nassau County FL judge Brian Davis held up by Sen. Marco Rubio
(Republican - Florida) 06/02/13
Larry Hannan: "The nomination of Circuit Judge Brian Davis of Nassau County to a seat on the federal bench is being held up by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who had supported him and even introduced him at his confirmation hearing. Davis was appointed by President Barack Obama to a judgeship for the Middle District of Florida in February 2012 but has not gotten a confirmation vote in the Senate. Aides to Rubio confirmed last week that the Republican senator was not allowing a vote to go forward. “Several Republican senators have expressed concerns with his nomination,” said Rubio spokesman Alex Conant. “So we’re doing our due diligence and reviewing his nomination before proceeding.” Conant couldn’t say how long it would take."

Sen. Moran Floor Statement supporting Sri Srinivasan D.C. Circuit nomination
(Republican - Kansas) 05/23/13
"If confirmed today, Sri would become the first South Asian to serve on a Federal circuit court. I wish to indicate to my colleagues how proud Kansans are of Sri and his success, his accomplishments, and I am pleased to support his nomination."

(Democrat, Republican - New Hampshire) 05/23/13
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today released the following statement applauding Judge Landya McCafferty’s nomination to the New Hampshire District Court bench. If confirmed, Judge McCafferty, who currently serves as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Hampshire, would be the first woman to ever serve in this position. “Judge Landya McCafferty is an incredibly qualified and accomplished individual with extensive federal court experience. Her nomination is a testament to her impeccable credentials and we are confident that she will serve the federal bench well. We look forward to supporting her historic nomination and urge the Senate to conduct a swift confirmation.”