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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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Senator Statements


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Sen. Portman Statement on Supreme Court Vacancy
(Republican - Ohio) 02/15/16
"We are in the midst of a presidential election and a vigorous debate within both political parties on the direction of the country, with the election less than nine months away. I believe the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in on who should make a lifetime appointment that could reshape the Supreme Court for generations. This wouldn't be unusual. It is common practice for the Senate to stop acting on lifetime appointments during the last year of a presidential term, and it's been nearly 80 years since any president was permitted to immediately fill a vacancy that arose in a presidential election year. I have supported some of President Obama's federal court nominees and opposed others, based on their qualifications. Whether the next president is a Republican or Democrat, I will judge any nominee on the merits, as I always have.”

Sen. Toomey [on Supreme Court vacancy]
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 02/15/16
"It makes sense to give the American people a more direct say in this critical decision. The next court appointment should be made by the newly-elected president," Toomey said. "President Obama insists that he will nominate someone for the Court. He certainly has the authority to do so. But let's be clear - his nominee will be rejected by the Senate."

Sen. Gardner on filling the Scalia Supreme Court vacancy
(Republican - Colorado) 02/15/16
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said in a statement Monday that President Barack Obama should probably let the winner of the 2016 election pick who fills the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Although the Colorado Republican left open the slight possibility that Congress could confirm an Obama nominee — one "who can win over the majority in the Senate," Gardner said — the first-term senator made clear he likely would stand with his fellow Republicans in blocking any candidate suggested by the White House. "Our country is at a crossroads, and whomever the Senate confirms to occupy the vacancy will have a significant impact on the direction of our country for years to come," Gardner said. ... Said Gardner: "I join Leader McConnell and several of my colleagues in allowing for the American people to play a role in the selection process when they cast their ballots in November."

Sen. Capito [on Justice Scalia replacement]
(Republican - West Virginia) 02/15/16
“Sen. Capito agrees with Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley [R-Iowa] that the next president should nominate Justice Scalia’s replacement,” Capito spokeswoman Ashley Berrang said. “With just a few months until the election and many important issues pending before the court, West Virginians should have an opportunity to express their views and elect a new president who will select the Supreme Court justice.”

Sen. McCain [on Supreme Court vacancy]
(Republican - Arizona) 02/15/16
“I believe that we should wait until after the next election and let the American people pick the next president, and we should consider who the next president of the United States nominates,” McCain said on Arizona radio.

Sen. Toomey Releases Statement on Supreme Court Vacancy
(Republican - Pennsylvania) 02/15/16
"I have long stated my belief that objective qualifications and adherence to the rule of law should matter more than ideology when it comes to judicial appointments. I have acted accordingly, working closely with Senator Bob Casey on filling 16 vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania and supporting numerous appointments by President Obama, including his appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. "The current vacancy on the Supreme Court, following the tragic death of Justice Antonin Scalia, however, presents an unusual context. In the final year of a presidency, it is common for vacancies that arise on the Supreme Court to await the outcome of the next election. Given that we are already well into the presidential election process and that the Supreme Court appointment is for a lifetime, it makes sense to give the American people a more direct say in this critical decision. The next Court appointment should be made by the newly-elected president. If that new president is not a member of my party, I will take the same objective non-partisan approach to that nominee as I have always done. "President Obama insists that he will nominate someone for the Court. He certainly has the authority to do so. But let's be clear - his nominee will be rejected by the Senate. In addition to the normally high level of scrutiny accorded to a Supreme Court nominee, this nominee would have to pass an additional level of scrutiny, which is the question of whether he or she ought to receive a lifetime appointment this year, when one could be made with a broad public stamp of approval less than a year later. That is a standard no nominee is likely to be able to meet. "It has been less than 72 hours since Justice Scalia's passing. There has already been too much politicking around the issue of his replacement. This decision should not be rushed, and it should not be made amid the clamoring of a presidential election season. We should honor Justice Scalia's legacy, and we should put off a decision on his replacement until the newly-elected president can make his or her choice."

Sen. Ayotte Statement on Supreme Court Vacancy
(Republican - New Hampshire) 02/14/16
Senator Kelly Ayotte released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court vacancy: "We're in the midst of a consequential presidential election year, and Americans deserve an opportunity to weigh in given the significant implications this nomination could have for the Supreme Court and our country for decades to come. I believe the Senate should not move forward with the confirmation process until the American people have spoken by electing a new president."

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.”

(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. 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. 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. 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.

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.”

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. 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

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. 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.”

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."

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.

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."