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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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Sens. Toomey and Casey Applaud Senate Judiciary Approval Of McHugh, Smith To U.S. District Court For The Eastern District
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 01/16/14
"I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee approving Gerald McHugh's nomination. He has a wealth of legal experience gained from more than three decades in private practice. I am confident he will excel as a federal judge - presiding with thoughtfulness and integrity. I look forward to him joining our other talented federal jurists in Philadelphia," said Sen. Toomey. "I am also delighted that the Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved Judge Edward Smith's nomination to serve as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Judge Smith is a dedicated, intelligent jurist who has served on the bench in Northampton County for 12 years. He's also served his country in the military for nearly 30 years, receiving a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq. I now look forward to the Senate confirming Judge Smith so that he may begin his work in Easton, which has gone without a federal judge since 2004. "Sen. Casey and I have worked hard to select qualified jurists to fill vacancies on the bench in Pennsylvania. The selection of these two excellent candidates demonstrates the strength and effectiveness of our bipartisan system, which has led to the confirmation of eight highly qualified men and women to the federal bench in Pennsylvania since I joined the Senate in 2011."

Sen. Portman on judicial nominations
(Republican - Ohio) 01/16/14
Ohio's Republican Senator, Rob Portman, said he wants to learn more about the situation but would be leery of any changes that could heighten partisanship. He said the old filibuster rule assured a level of Democrat-Republican agreement because it required an affirmative vote from some minority party members. With today's higher threshold, he said it is likely that more liberal judges will be nominated and confirmed -- and, if the Republicans win a majority and keep the new rules, that more conservative judges will eventually be nominated and confirmed. Until now, at least, there was a system where "you wind up with center-left or center-right judges rather than far left or far right judges," Portman said. "I think it makes sense to have more rather than less cooperation around this place," Portman said. The filibuster changes, he said, are going to make things worse. "I'd be against the minority losing more rights," said Portman.

Sen. Grassley Statement at Judiciary Exec.: Concerns with Barron Nomination
(Republican - Iowa) 01/16/14
"I expect Mr. Chhabria will be confirmed, and I hope he proves me wrong. ... I will be voting “no” on the nomination of Professor Barron."

Sen. Heller Statement on Richard Boulware: Expected Nominee for District Judge, District of Nevada
(Republican - Nevada) 01/16/14
After sitting down with Mr. Boulware and discussing his nomination at length, I found him to be extremely impressive. I feel that he is an excellent choice for the District of Nevada, and I am confident that he will serve Nevada well. I look forward to signing the blue slip as soon as my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee have the pertinent documents to continue the nomination process,” said Senator Dean Heller.

Sens. Collins, King Announce Justice Jon Levy's Nomination Approved by Judiciary Committee
(Independent, Republican - Maine) 01/16/14
"As we testified before the Judiciary Committee in December, Justice Levy's extensive experience as a state judge and in private practice makes him extremely well qualified for Maine's federal district court," Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. "We are confident that, if confirmed, Jon Levy will serve the people of Maine and the nation with great intelligence, integrity, and impartiality."

Sen. Kirk Announces Formation of Non-Partisan, Statewide Judicial Search Committee: Panel of 16 Lawyers and Former Judges to Recommend Candidates to Senator Kirk
(Republican - Illinois) 01/15/14
"I am confident that these 16 panelists will conduct a productive, non-partisan and satisfactory review of the applicants as they work to fill the judicial vacancy for the Northern District of Illinois," Senator Kirk said. "With their combined experience and knowledge, I am certain that we will submit the strongest applicant possible for review by the President and the U.S. Senate."

Sen. Richard Burr Dodges Questions On Why He's Blocking A Judicial Nominee He Previously Supported
(Republican - North Carolina) 01/14/14
"I don't talk about any recommendations I make to the White House. All my conversations are with them," Burr said. Asked if he still supports May-Parker's nomination, given that he's the one who recommended her to Obama in the first place, Burr demurred. "All my conversations are with the White House on judicial recommendations," he said. The North Carolina senator also wouldn't comment on if he plans to submit his blue slip: "I just don't share anything about the judicial nominations process."

Sen. Alexander Floor Statement
(Republican - Tennessee) 01/13/14
"There is a new book out which I mentioned on the floor the other day. My guess is it will become the leading history of this body. It is written by the former Senate Historian, Richard Baker, and the late Neil MacNeil, who wrote what many consider to be the best history of the House of Representatives. They say in the book that the genius I just talked about--``the authentic touch of genius that is the Senate''--the major reason for that is the opportunity for extended debate. They point out, as I think any of us would, that there have been abuses with the filibuster, more delays than are necessary; that the Senate doesn't work as well as it should ... There have been abuses of the filibuster. It is true that some Republicans have unduly delayed nominations and unduly delayed legislation. ...there were not very many people on the Executive Calendar, and we had changed the rules to make it easier to confirm them, anyway. There were 13 district judges, so the majority leader could bring them up on Thursday--Friday is the intervening day--and Monday there could be 2 hours of debate on each judge, and we could confirm four or five by doing it over the weekend in that way."

Sen. Lee Floor Statement on Wilkins Nomination
(Republican - Utah) 01/13/14
"We just confirmed Judge Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. I voted against this judge. In doing that, I joined my Republican colleagues for one simple reason. Several years ago, when President George W. Bush was in the White House, he nominated an eminently qualified lawyer named Peter Keisler who had bipartisan support. ...Since that time, if anything, the DC Circuit's caseload per judge has remained about the same or some would argue has gone down a little, depending on which metric you use."

Sen. Wicker on judicial diversity
(Republican - Mississippi) 01/13/14
Riding the Senate subway alongside fellow Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran recently, Wicker also pointed to their support for James Graves, whom Obama nominated to be the first ever African-American judge from the state to serve on the fifth circuit. The Obama White House has made a notable difference on judicial diversity, Wicker said. “I think they have,” Wicker said. “I’ve been helpful.”

Sen. John Cornyn blesses nomination of Gregg Costa to the Fifth Circuit
(Republican - Texas) 01/09/14
“I have a lot of confidence in Judge Costa,” said Cornyn, a Senate Judiciary Committee member. He and former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison "recommended him for a district court nomination, and we are working very closely with the White House,” Cornyn said. “I support the nomination,” he added. “He’s a solid appointment.”

WI Sens. Ron Johnson & Tammy Baldwin Testimony urges swift confirmation of James Peterson to district court
(Republican - Wisconsin) 01/08/14
During the hearing, the committee also heard strong endorsements for Peterson from Wisconsin's two senators, Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Ron Johnson. Both praised his background and spoke of the bipartisan nominating committee in Wisconsin that recommended Peterson for the nomination. Baldwin and Johnson also urged a swift confirmation process, noting the slot he will fill has been vacant for several years.

Sen. Kirk supports Nancy Rosenstengel district court nomination
(Republican - Illinois) 01/08/14
Sen. Durbin "I want to thank my colleague Senator Mark Kirk for his support of this nomination as well. In Illinois, we have a bipartisan process for recommending judicial candidates to the White House ... I want to thank my colleague Senator Mark Kirk for his support of this nomination as well. In Illinois, we have a bipartisan process for recommending judicial candidates to the White House" SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): "Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. (And this ?) would be in support of the same nominee as Senator Durbin was suggesting. So we'll put that in the record."

Sens. Shelby and Sessions on Judicial Selection
(Republican - Alabama) 01/07/14
In interviews Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Alabama GOP Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions said they are working with the White House to find qualified nominees for the 11th Circuit and two other vacancies on lower federal courts in Huntsville and Montgomery. “I’m interested in the best qualified nominees that we can get, realizing that we have a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate,” Shelby said. “My idea is not to rubber stamp anybody politically because those are very important lifetime jobs. I think diversity is important, but qualifications should trump everything. Oftentimes you can have diversity and qualifications. I believe that.” Sessions is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which reviews nominees. He declined to discuss any potential nominees or the issue of diversity. “There are many factors one can consider in appointments but fundamentally I hope the president will nominate somebody who is committed to the rule of law, is hardworking and honest, and understands they serve under the law and under the Constitution and they’re not above it,” Sessions said.

Sen. Rubio opposition to Judge William Thomas nomination
(Republican - Florida) 01/06/14
A White House aide, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that Obama did not renominate Thomas because of Rubio’s objections. “I think that was the right approach,” Rubio said Monday when asked about the president’s decision. “I don’t believe he was qualified to serve on the federal bench. I think we have a number of qualified candidates that he’s considered for other posts that he can now consider for this one as well.” A Rubio spokeswoman, Brooke Sammon, said in a separate statement to CQ Roll Call that Thomas had proven himself to be unfit for a federal judgeship. “Sen. Rubio has determined that Thomas’s record on the state court raises serious concerns about his fitness for a lifetime federal appointment,” she said. “Those concerns include questions about his judicial temperament and his willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.”

Sen. Moran Introduces Daniel Crabtree as Nominee for United States District Court for the District of Kansas
(Republican - Kansas) 01/03/14
“Providing advice and consent of Presidential nominees is one of the most important roles of the United States Senate and a responsibility I take seriously,” Sen. Moran said. “Mr. Crabtree is a distinguished litigator with extensive experience in federal and state courts, and I will support his confirmation.”

Sen. Grassley makes report card for 113th Congress
(Republican - Iowa) 12/24/13
"Vetting nominees. Whether it’s the IRS, Homeland Security or lifelong appointments to serve on the federal bench, members of the U.S. Senate have the constitutional duty of advice and consent. Scrutiny of these nominees is an integral function of our republic’s system of checks and balances that demands more than rubber-stamp approval."

Sens. Chambliss & Isakson on GA federal judicial nominees
(Republican - Georgia) 12/23/13
“As senators, we take our constitutional duty to advise and consent very seriously,” the two said in a statement. “We are pleased to see the process of filling federal judicial nominations in Georgia move forward.” The men said that the White House has been diligent and cooperative throughout the process. “This is a well-qualified group of nominees,” they said. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate as we go through the confirmation process.”

Sen. Flake on Home-State Senator Blue Slips for Nominees to fill six Arizona Emergency Federal Judicial Vacancies
(Republican - Arizona) 12/19/13
"Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told The Arizona Republic last week that he was holding on to his “blue slips” for the previous nominees until the White House followed through with one more promised name. The blue slips are a traditional way for home-state senators to weigh in on nominations that affect their constituents. Flake’s office confirmed Thursday that Soto’s was the nomination Flake was awaiting."

Sen. Grassley Statement at Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting
(Republican - Iowa) 12/19/13
"All the judicial nominations on the agenda appear for the first time, and we request they be held over."

Sens. Collins, King Voice Support for Nomination of Justice Jon Levy to U.S. District Court for Maine
(Republican - Maine) 12/19/13
“I am pleased to join my colleague Senator King in recommending Justice Jon David Levy to serve on the United States District Court for the State of Maine,” said Senator Collins. “Justice Levy’s extensive experience as a state judge and in private practice makes him extremely well qualified for Maine’s federal district court. His contributions to the Maine legal community and the juvenile justice system would give him a valuable perspective as a federal judge. I am confident that if confirmed, Jon Levy will serve the people of Maine and the nation with great intelligence, integrity, and impartiality.”

Sen. Grassley Responds to Chairman Leahy's statement on Judiciary Committee matters
(Republican - Iowa) 12/18/13
“The so-called obstruction of nominees is a figment of the Democrats’ imagination."

Sen. Collins on delay of scheduled Judiciary Committee judicial nominations hearing
(Republican - Maine) 12/18/13
Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley said, “Senator Collins believes Judge Levy is well-qualified to serve on Maine’s federal District Court, and she had planned to testify at his hearing. She looks forward to doing so when it is rescheduled, which she hopes is soon.”

Sens. Shaheen, Ayotte Statement on Landya McCafferty Confirmation; McCafferty confirmed as district of New Hampshire federal district court judge by vote of 79-19
(Democrat, Republican - New Hampshire) 12/12/13
"Landya is exceptionally qualified and experienced and will be a great addition to the federal bench for the District of New Hampshire," said Shaheen and Ayotte. "We look forward to her service as the first woman to hold this position in our state now that the Senate has cleared her historic nomination."

Sen. Lamar Alexander calls Senate rule decision 'Obamacare II'
(Republican - Tennessee) 12/08/13
This is the same kind of power play. There was no justification for this.” On how this is different from when Republicans under former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist considered the same option in 2005 “The difference is he didn’t do it,” Alexander said of his fellow Tennessean. “The reason he didn’t was because Harry Reid said it would be the end of the Senate. ... We agreed we wouldn’t do that. We would only block nominees by cloture, by filibuster, in extraordinary circumstances.”

Sen. Cruz: Senate Triggered Nuclear Option To Pack D.C. Cirucit & Distract From Obamacare
(Republican - Texas) 12/05/13
"The nuclear option was a blatant abuse of power. It was designed really to do two things. Number one, to change the topic from Obamacare," Cruz said Thursday during a speech at an American Legislative Exchange Council event. The second thing, Cruz continued, had to do with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats have pushed back on the court-packing argument, saying that Republicans had no problem confirming D.C. Circuit Court nominations under a Republican president. "The nuclear option was directed exactly at that because it was directed at three judges on the D.C. Circuit [Court], the circuit that hears most of the challenges to the abuse of executive authority on Obamacare and everything else," Cruz said. "Right now the D.C. circuit is evenly split with Republican nominees and Democratic nominees and what Harry Reid is trying to do is pack it with additional judges they believe will rubber stamp the president's agenda."

Sen. Alexander on pending district court nominee Pamela Reeves
(Republican - Tennessee) 12/05/13
In a meeting with News Sentinel editors and reporters this week, Sen. Lamar Alexander said all that is needed is for Majority Leader Harry Reid to schedule a vote. Alexander said he sees no reason why Reeves would not be confirmed, noting that no district court nominee has ever been blocked by a filibuster. “It’s up to Harry Reid,” Alexander said. “All he has to do is bring her name up. I know of no problem with Pam. I’ve met with her. The way you get confirmation is, the Democratic leader makes a motion to confirm and I don’t know any reason why she wouldn’t be.”

Sen. Isakson on filibuster change and home-state senator "blue slips"
(Republican - Georgia) 12/04/13
Isakson said he believes the vote by Senate Democrats to change voting on many appointments to a simple majority is largely a flexing of power. He said the vote was an effort on the part of Reid “to make it look like the Republicans were being obstructionist.” ... Isakson noted the majority vote rule applies to judicial nominees other than the Supreme Court and to federal bureaucracy appointments. He said the “blue slip” rule, which allows senators to hold up confirmation of any nominee, is still in place. He said the change amounts to “a partial loosening of the rules to strengthen the majority’s hands.” Democrats could have completely eliminated the 60 percent requirement and the blue slip rule if that had been their goal, he said.

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.