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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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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.”

Sen. Alexander Floor Statement against Filibuster & Merits of NLRB General Counsel nominee
(Republican - Tennessee) 10/28/13
"There are exceptions, of course, but as a general proposition, I believe a President should have an up-or-down vote on his nominee, so I intend to vote for cloture. But Mr. Griffin's nomination does not do enough for me to show the promise of moving the Board from advocacy toward umpire and, therefore, I do not intend to vote to confirm his nomination."

Sen. Sessions quoted on Chief Justice Roberts support for filling empty D.C. Circuit seats
(Republican - Alabama) 10/28/13
Jen Bendery: "Also an advocate of filling the court's empty slots: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. He backed the court keeping all 11 seats in an April 5 report issued by the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is headed by Roberts. Sessions, for one, hadn't heard about Roberts' support. "I want to see that quote. Where'd he say that?" Sessions asked, jumping out of an elevator he'd just hopped into. When HuffPost cited the April 5 report, Sessions grumbled about Roberts not being a real Republican. "He's always advocating the court. He wants pay raises for staff," he said. "Otherwise, he's supposed to be conservative.""

Sen. Grassley quoted by CQ on possible Floor vote on D.C. Circuit nominee
(Republican - Iowa) 10/25/13
“Instead of working on important issues like the budget, the farm and food bill, an energy bill and FISA Court reform it appears the majority leader is going to bring up a judicial nominee for a court that has one of the lowest caseloads in the country,” Grassley said Friday. “With the many fiscal and security issues going on, let alone a disastrous start to the president’s signature health care law, it’s an abdication of leadership to be wasting the Senate’s time on an unnecessary and controversial matter rather than facing the crises that confront the country,” Grassley added.

Sen. Cornyn opinion piece on "A time for Republican unity"
(Republican - Texas) 10/23/13
“GOP lawmakers …“We’re united in our desire …. To appoint constitutionalist judges who will faithfully uphold our founding document. ... Finally, Republicans should remain united in blocking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attempt to pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is America’s second-most-influential judicial body. Senator Reid has made no secret of his intent: Over the summer, he told Nevada Public Radio that Democrats were hoping to “switch the majority” on the D.C. Circuit to make it a rubberstamp for big-government liberalism. Republicans have objected to this power grab, and we should continue to do so. Based on its caseload, the D.C. Circuit simply does not need more judges at the present time. Meanwhile, there are plenty of appellate courts that are overburdened and do need more judges. Our priority should be to fill those vacancies, not to let Harry Reid stack a single court.”

Sen. Hatch Introduces Judge Carolyn McHugh at Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearing; Utah Court of Appeals Judge Nominated by President Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
(Republican - Utah) 09/25/13
"I have been doing this a long time, and have participated in the nomination or confirmation of more than half of the judges who have ever served on the Tenth Circuit. I know a first-rate nominee when I see one. Judge McHugh’s varied experience, her personal character and intelligence, and her work ethic make her one of the best."

Sens. Boozman & Pryor testify for federal district court nominee Judge James “Jay” Moody Jr.
(Republican - Arkansas) 09/25/13
Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and John Boozman, R-Ark., testified before the panel on his behalf, saying they expect him to do an outstanding job if confirmed. “We all know that it takes a qualified individual to do this job. They must have the proper judicial temperament and the ability to be fair and impartial. I’m here today to tell you — Jay meets and exceeds all of those criteria,” Pryor said. “He has extensive experience and an impressive background,” said Boozman.

SC Senators on nomination of state Circuit Judge Alison Renee Lee to the US District Court for South Carolina
(Republican - South Carolina) 09/25/13
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said this week that Lee’s nomination to serve as a Columbia, S.C.-based U.S. District Court judge has provoked “concerns” among some South Carolina residents. Graham is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has not yet scheduled a confirmation hearing for Lee. “I’ve had a lot of concerns expressed about her,” Graham said in an interview Tuesday, “and I’ve been having a lot of meetings scheduled (about her) in the state.” On Wednesday, Graham’s colleague, Republican Sen. Tim Scott, voiced similar sentiments. “Senator Scott has significant concerns about the decisions Ms. Lee has made in her current role,” Greg Blair, Scott’s press secretary, said in an email response to questions. “The senator was able to hold an initial meeting with her following her nomination and will continue to evaluate all the available information about her candidacy.”

Sen. Johanns Statement on U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon’s Retirement
(Republican - Nebraska) 09/23/13
“I thank Judge Bataillon for his service to our state and lifelong commitment to the legal system,” Johanns said. “I’ve known Judge Bataillon for more than 40 years and wish him all the best when the time comes for him to transition into this new chapter in his life.” “Additionally, I look forward to working with Sen. Fischer on recommendations to President Obama as he looks to fill this important position for our state.”

Sen. Fischer on U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon announced retirement
(Republican - Nebraska) 09/23/13
“As he transitions into his new role on the court when he takes senior status next year, I look forward to working with Sen. Johanns to recommend a qualified replacement to the president,” Fischer said.

Sens. Kirk, Durbin: White House Nominates Manish Shah to Fill Federal Judgeship for Northern District of Illinois
(Republican - Illinois) 09/19/13
“Manish Shah's stellar record in working with former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald makes him an outstanding candidate to be the next federal district court judge for Northern Illinois,” Senator Kirk said. “He’s the most experienced prosecutor we have, and I will continue to work with Senator Durbin to make sure we have highly-skilled candidates like Shah to help strengthen our courts and clean up Illinois.”

Sen. Hatch quoted on D.C. Circuit nominees in article about Committee vote on Pillard nomination
(Republican - Utah) 09/19/13
"I'm not really voting against the nominees," explains Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. "I'm voting against packing the court."