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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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Sen. McCain on filibusters and nominees to fill D.C. Circuit vacancies
(Republican - Arizona) 08/01/13
Sahil Kapur: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told TPM on Wednesday that he would support cloture on the nominees unless there were “extraordinary circumstances” that merited a filibuster.

Sen. Thune on pending D.C. Circuit nominees
(Republican - South Dakota) 07/30/13
Sahil Kapur: "Asked Tuesday in the Capitol if he believes Obama’s three D.C. Circuit picks deserve up or down votes, No. 3 Republican Sen. John Thune (SD) told TPM, “Well, hopefully they’ll get votes.” Thune’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong hedged his remark shortly afterward, saying that “Senator Thune believes that any qualified nominee deserves consideration in the Senate, but the Senate’s focus should be voting on judges for circuit courts across this country that have more vacancies and heavier caseloads than the D.C. Circuit.” That leaves room for a filibuster."

Sen. Cornyn on nominees to fill D.C. Circuit vacancies
(Republican - Texas) 07/27/13
Are these judges really necessary, except to promote Obama’s power play?

Sen. Ayotte Urges Swift Confirmation of Landya McCafferty as New Hampshire Federal District Court Judge
(Republican - New Hampshire) 07/24/13
"Judge McCafferty's extensive federal court experience - including her service as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Hampshire for the past three years - makes her well-qualified for this position on the federal bench. I look forward to supporting her confirmation and I urge my colleagues to act swiftly to approve her nomination."

Sens. Cornyn, Cruz Announce Application Process for Texas Judgeships: Invite Qualified Attorneys to Seek Appointment for Vacancies in Southern, Eastern, Western Districts
(Republican - Texas) 07/22/13
“Texans deserve the finest legal minds and ablest professionals to serve as U.S. District Judges throughout our state’s federal judicial districts,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Public service is a great calling, and, as a former judge, I encourage everyone who is interested in servingin these important positions to apply.” “This FJEC panel will ensure Texans have the best, most qualified judges and prosecutors defending their rights in court,” said Sen. Cruz.“We have an abundant pool of qualified legal experts in Texas who would serve our state well, and I look forward to seeing an exceptional group of applicants pursue these important judicial positions.”

Sen. Chambliss on Georgia federal court vacancies
(Republican - Georgia) 07/20/13
"For one reason or another, the White House has been slow in acting, and for whatever reason we've been a little slow in acting," Chambliss said last week. "We're still working on it, and we hope to reach an agreement."

Sen. Barrasso: Don’t Change the Rules to Break the Rules
(Republican - Wyoming) 07/15/13
"Republicans have raised principled objections to a select few of the President’s nominees. “In other cases, such as the D.C. Circuit Court, we simply want to apply the standard that the Democrats had set—that the Court’s workload doesn’t justify the addition of three more judges. “The President claims his nominees have been treated unfairly.... “The Democrats aren’t happy with the rulings by the D.C. Circuit Court, and they want to avoid any more inconvenient questions about the Obama Administration."

Sen. Hatch on filibusters of judicial nominees
(Republican - Utah) 07/14/13
"I continue to vote against filibusters with regard to judicial nominations because I think it's a principled position. I actually think the president, whoever the president may be ought to have the full choice of who they put on the bench. And unless there's just some overwhelming reason why somebody should never be on the bench."

Sen. Cruz: Any Effort to Pack D.C. Circuit Court Should be Decried
(Republican - Texas) 07/10/13
"I think any effort to pack the court because the Administration doesn’t like the outcomes of judges applying the law fairly should be decried.”

Sen. Cruz statement to Patricia Millett at her D.C. Circuit nomination Committee hearing
(Republican - Texas) 07/10/13
"You are a talented and skilled appellate advocate... who has earned high respect"

Sen. Wicker Recommends Debra Brown for Judicial Post
(Republican - Mississippi) 07/10/13
“Judge Brown will be an outstanding addition to the federal bench,” Wicker said. “She has represented accomplishment and excellence her entire life. Ms. Brown will be good for the country and the people of Mississippi. I consider it a personal and high honor to recommend her to Senate Judiciary Committee and look forward to her confirmation.” If confirmed, Ms. Brown would be the first African-American female Article III judge in Mississippi. [VIDEO link]

Sen. Grassley Statement supporting confirmation of 10th Circuit nominee
(Republican - Iowa) 07/08/13
"I support the nomination of Gregory Alan Phillips to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit."

Wyoming Attorney General unanimously approved for federal court
(Republican - Wyoming) 07/08/13
“I can personally attest to Mr. Phillips’ qualifications to serve as a federal judge,” said Enzi. “Greg was on the Senate Judiciary Committee when we served together in the Wyoming Legislature. Greg and his family are highly respected in their community and Wyoming is proud to call Greg one of our own.” “Greg Phillips will be an outstanding judge,” said Barrasso. “The breadth of his experience, his understanding of the law and the role of a judge, as well as the thoroughness with which he approaches his responsibilities, will serve him well. I have no doubt that as his career continues, he will become a successful and respected member of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Sen. Barrasso Floor Speech on Nomination of Greg Phillips to 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
(Republican - Wyoming) 07/08/13
"I join Senator Enzi in strongly supporting the nomination of Greg Phillips to a seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals."

Statement of U.S. Senator Mike Enzi on the confirmation of Gregory Alan Phillips to serve as a U.S. Circuit Judge for the 10th Circuit
(Republican - Wyoming) 07/08/13
"This vote is also important because the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has experienced a number of judicial vacancies recently. In February, the Senate confirmed Judge Bacharach of Oklahoma to the panel and we now have the opportunity to fill another vacancy so the Tenth Circuit can continue its work."

(Republican - Texas) 07/02/13
"Ms. Millett thank you for being here. Thank you for your able testimony. You and I have known each other a long time. And you are a talented and skilled appellate advocate. You are someone who has earned high respect in the Supreme Court bar, which is a community where earning respect there means something. ...I think it is regrettable the overall context of this dispute, which is as I said irrespective of your very fine professional qualifications."

Sen. Scott on Nominees to fill South Carolina federal district court vacancies
(Republican - South Carolina) 06/27/13
President Barack Obama nominated two women to federal judgeships in South Carolina.U.S. Magistrate Bruce Howe Hendricks and South Carolina at-large Circuit Judge Alison Renee Lee were picked to fill two U.S. district court vacancies in Columbia. A spokesman for Sen. Tim Scott, R-Charleston, said Scott wouldn’t object to either nomination.

Sen. Scott & Obama nominates 2 SC women to federal judgeships
(Republican - South Carolina) 06/26/13
A spokesman for Sen. Tim Scott, R-Charleston, said Scott wouldn’t object to either nomination.

Sen. Susan Collins: Why Congress should reform federal court
(Republican - Maine) 06/19/13
Bangor Daily News Op-Ed: “While I support the reallocation of seats to other circuits because of the workload, I do recognize the unfortunate reality that this bill is not likely to pass a democratically controlled Senate. I will, therefore, assess each nominee to the D.C. Circuit whom the president sends to the Senate on his or her merits.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions: President Obama's nominee for open federal bench in Alabama a very good choice
(Republican - Alabama) 06/19/13
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., today said that President Barack Obama made a good choice in nominating Madeline Hughes Haikala for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge for northern Alabama.... Sessions congratulated Haikala and President Obama, "because he's made by all accounts a very good choice." Sessions noted Haikala received the American Bar Association's top rating for the job. He also praised Haikala as "one of the premier attorneys" in Alabama. She is known for her appellate practice and pro bono work, he said. Among her accomplishments, Sessions noted was her recognition in Birmingham Magazine, as one of the "Top Attorneys" in that magazine's third annual peer review survey.

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."