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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Senator Statements


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Sen. Lankford thinks two Oklahoma district court nominees will be confirmed by the full Senate this year.
(Republican - Oklahoma) 04/20/16
Backed by both Oklahoma senators, Suzanne Mitchell and Scott Palk sailed through a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on their nominations to be federal judges for the western half of the state.... Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, who introduced Mitchell and Palk to the committee on Wednesday, said later that he thinks the two will be advanced by the committee and confirmed by the full Senate this year.

Sen. Inhofe Statement for the Nomination Hearing of Mitchell, Palk to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
(Republican - Oklahoma) 04/20/16
"Chairman Lee, thank you for the opportunity to introduce my support for the two nominees from my home state of Oklahoma. Both Judge Suzanne Mitchell and Scott Palk have been nominated to fill vacancies on the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.... Judge Mitchell is very qualified for the position of U.S. District Judge. Her experience with all aspects of the courtroom provides her with the unique perspective and skill set to be an impartial judge that upholds the rule of law. ... I have no doubt she will continue to serve Oklahoma and our nation with honor.... Former Senator and current Oklahoma University President, David Boren praised Mr. Palk by saying he’d “make an excellent judge” who would be “balanced and fair in his approach” and has “an excellent reputation for complete honesty and integrity.” I think we can all agree that these are the characteristics that will serve the Western District of Oklahoma and our nation well. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity to introduce these two great Oklahomans and voice my support for their nominations."

Sen. Rubio is not going to return blue slip to allow hearing on judicial nominee he recommended to fill emergency
(Republican - Florida) 04/20/16
"Sen. Marco Rubio continues to block a South Florida judicial nominee he recommended to the White House and has likely killed her chances of being confirmed. He refuses to say why. ... Rubio through a spokesman declined to explain why he has not submitted a so-called blue slip for Barzee Flores, whom Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson jointly recommended for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District. "I have spoken with Rubio and he said he's not going to return the blue slip," Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times. In December, Rubio's office said he was waiting for a Judiciary Committee review of Barzee Flores, a respected Miami lawyer. That review has finished ... The spot on the court has been vacant since May 2014 and is considered a judicial emergency, meaning cases are backlogged."

Sens. Hatch, Lee want quick vote on Utah judicial pick
(Republican - Utah) 04/20/16
Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch lauded a Utah judicial nominee on Wednesday and called for a quick vote to confirm Ronald G. Russell ... Lee and Hatch both support Russell, whom President Barack Obama nominated in December, and said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday that he would be an excellent judge on the U.S. District Court for Utah. "In Ron Russell, I found not only a man with an outstanding resume, but also an upstanding servant of his community," Hatch said. "As such, I was honored to recommend Ron for appointment, and now I urge my colleagues to approve Ron's nomination promptly."... "This is a good day for the state of Utah and a good day for the federal judiciary," Lee said.

Sen. Hatch Introduces Utah District Court Nominee Ronald Russell in Judiciary Committee
(Republican - Utah) 04/20/16
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to consider nominations for lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary. Senator Orrin Hatch, the former chairman and longest-serving current member of the Committee, introduced Ronald G. Russell, the nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. “I have participated in the appointment of nearly three-quarters of the judges who have served on Utah’s federal district court,” Hatch said. “When selecting a candidate to recommend for nomination, I consider not only the individual’s credentials that can be put on paper, but also his reputation and the impressions I draw from extensive interviews. In Ron Russell, I found not only a man with an outstanding resume, but also an upstanding servant of his community. As such, I was honored to recommend Ron for appointment, and now I urge my colleagues to approve Ron’s nomination promptly.”

Sen. Graham: I‘m worried where we’re headed with judicial approvals
(Republican - South Carolina) 04/18/16
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said the approval process for federal judicial nominees is much more politically partisan today. Graham said judicial appointees need to be deemed on their legal qualifications. “Don’t you want somebody, a man or women who could care less about your politics, judge you based on the facts?” Graham said. Graham said his predecessors in the Senate worked across party lines when it came to judicial appointment approvals. “Fritz (Hollings) and Strom (Thurmond), when it came to judges, helped each other,” he said, referring to South Carolina’s former longtime Democratic and Republican senators. “We’re making the judicial selection process politics in another forum. And I’m really worried about where we are going with judges,” Graham told the crowd.

Sen. Ron Johnson applies different standards to SCOTUS, appeals court nominees
(Republican - Wisconsin) 04/18/16
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) has repeatedly said he doesn't think any U.S. Supreme Court nominee put forth by the Obama administration should be confirmed in such a contentious election year, but he is not applying that same standard to a lower court nominee from Wisconsin. A Wisconsin-designated seat on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has been vacant since 2010 ... We both filled out and filed our blue slips and you need two blue slips to move a nomination forward," said Sen. Baldwin, referring to a procedural move regarding judicial appointments. Both Senators sent those blue slips to the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicating their approval of President Obama's January nomination of Madison Attorney Don Schott. While Sen. Johnson supports Schott's election-year appointment, he takes a much different position on Obama's Supreme Court nominee - D-C Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland. "Two totally different courts, first of all," Sen. Johnson told 27 News last Friday. "You have district court, you have appellate court, then you have the Supreme Court of the land. That's where the decision is final." ... While Sen. Baldwin has asked Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to hold a hearing and vote on Don Schott's confirmation to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Sen. Johnson told 27 News he will let Sen. Grassley make his own decision on that.

Republican Senators from 13 States Urge Immediate Action to Fill Their Judicial Vacancies (CO, ID, IN, KS, NE, ND, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WI) (April 14, 2016)
(Republican - Colorado, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin) 04/14/16

Nebraska Senators Push for Vote on District Court Nominee
(Republican - Nebraska) 04/13/16
President Barack Obama nominated Rossiter after the Omaha attorney was hand-picked by then-Sen. Mike Johanns and Sen. Deb Fischer, both Nebraska Republicans, and the nomination is supported by Johanns’ successor, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has said that he hears often from the two Nebraska senators on the topic and that Fischer in particular has been a bulldog on the issue. “I am hounding them,” she said. “I am focused on this.” But all that hounding has yet to pay off [despite the vacancy being a declared judicial emergency]. The Senate did approve a series of nominations earlier this year, including a couple of Iowa judges Grassley bumped to the front of the line. …. Fischer said she’ll keep pushing for the vote. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get him up,” she said.

Sens. Crapo, Risch Begin “Twisting Arms” for Federal Judge Nominee
(Republican - Idaho) 04/12/16
Hoping to win a quick vote [on the nomination of Judge David Nye], Risch and … Crapo say they’ve already begun twisting arms with their colleagues, urging them to let Nye leapfrog ahead of some of the more controversial nominees. Both senators say they want the Senate to sign off on Nye before Congress adjourns for the year. “It’s very clear that we are in the last quarter of this Congress and so we need to move urgently. . . . The queue can get moved around,” Crapo said. Risch said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that they’ll succeed: “ …. We’ve already had numerous conversations.”

Sen Crapo Statement on Federal Judge Nominee
(Republican - Idaho) 04/12/16
Crapo had high praise for Nye. “He has a tremendous record. He has broad support for his capabilities and his judicial demeanor from the legal community,” he said. “He has the intellectual respect and the experience that make him an outstanding nominee.” …. As for the prospects for getting Judge Nye confirmed before the end of the year, Crapo said, “We’ve got a very intense political climate that could cause some delays. But my hope and my belief is that we should make our best argument that the judicial emergency that we face in Idaho gives us even additional strong reason for the Senate to set aside the partisanship that is now so strong, and move forward with this nomination.” “I can’t promise you that that will work out, but I can tell you that Sen. Risch and I are very aggressively working to try to get this nomination moved,” Crapo said. “One thing that helps us in that process, we have the White House in support of this nomination. We truly do have bipartisanship on this.”

Sen. Alexander: Tennessee is Fortunate to Have Such a Well-Qualified Federal District Judge as Waverly Crenshaw
(Republican - Tennessee) 04/11/16
"In December of 2014, Judge Haynes of the Middle District of Tennessee assumed senior status, creating a vacancy on the Middle District bench. That vacancy has resulted in increased caseloads for the three active federal district judges—Judge Sharp, Judge Campbell, and Judge Trauger. Fortunately, help is on the way. In June, Senator Corker and I had the pleasure of introducing Waverly Crenshaw to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee when it met to consider his nomination. I was pleased that the committee agreed with us. And they reported out his nomination by voice vote the following month."

Sen. Grassley: Senate Confirms 324th Obama Judicial Nominee Waverly Crenshaw
(Republican - Iowa) 04/11/16
"To put this in perspective, at the same point in his eighth year, President Bush had only 303 judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate. Furthermore, throughout his entire presidency, the Senate confirmed 326 of President Bush’s judicial nominees. Including tonight’s vote, the Senate will only be 2 judges shy of the total number it confirmed under President Bush."

Sens. Crapo, Risch “Pushing Hard” For Confirmation of Federal Judge Nominee
(Republican - Idaho) 04/11/16
Idaho’s two GOP senators … say they’re pushing hard for [confirmation of Judge Nye] to happen this year, despite the standoff between the White House and the Senate over the Senate’s refusal to hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. …. Idaho Sen. Jim Risch said he and Sen. Mike Crapo already have met with Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley about a possible hearing – even before the nomination was announced – and lunched with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week to press the case for confirmation.

(Republican - Tennessee) 04/11/16
"He was the first African-American attorney at the Waller Law Firm .... I'm confident that he will serve the people of Middle Tennessee in this new role in an honorable fashion, and I'm proud to be here to support him with our senior senator and so many other people, by the way, in Middle Tennessee that want to see him confirmed in this position. I hope that others will join us today in confirming him, and I look forward to him serving, by the way, in a place that is in dire need of having someone of his capacity. We have many cases that are backed up."

Sens. Alexander, Corker: Senate to Vote Monday on Nomination of Waverly Crenshaw to Serve as a Federal District Judge for Middle Tenn.
(Republican - Tennessee) 04/07/16
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released the following statements today: Alexander said: “The Senate will vote on Waverly Crenshaw’s nomination on Monday at 5:30 p.m. Mr. Crenshaw is an outstanding nominee—I’m confident that he’ll be confirmed and soon be able to take his place as a federal district judge for the Middle District of Tennessee.” Corker said: “Waverly Crenshaw has distinguished himself not only as a talented attorney, but also a well-respected leader in the Nashville community. He will serve the people of Middle Tennessee honorably in this new role, and I look forward to his confirmation.”

(Republican - Missouri) 04/06/16
" What the Senate has to decide when there is a nomination to the Supreme Court is this: Is this the right time for this vacancy to be filled, and then is this the right person? In election years, the Senate for most of the history of the country has decided it wasn't the right time.... The EPA is saying we have the authority to regulate navigable waters, and so we are going to get involved in your peat moss farm, because even though it is 120 miles from any navigable waters, the water from your peat moss farm could run into other water that could run into other water that 120 miles away would run into navigable waters. Look right here in the Clean Air Act. [sic] ... Even if somehow a nominee began the process right now, I think the average has been about 54 days. That is the 9 months it took to get to Judge Kennedy and less than that it took to get to somebody else.[sic]"

Republican Home-State Senators Urge Immediate Action on Federal Judicial Nominees Pending in April 2016 (ID, IN, KS, NE, ND, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, WI)
(Republican - Utah, Texas, Tennessee, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, Wisconsin) 04/06/16

Sens. Crapo, Risch Statement on Federal Judge Nominee
(Republican - Idaho) 04/05/16
Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch today announced that Idaho District Judge David C. Nye of Pocatello has been nominated by President Barack Obama to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho. The nomination was done after negotiations with the White House and upon the advice given by the senators from Idaho. The senators stated that they enthusiastically seek the consent of the full Senate for confirmation. “The nomination of Judge Nye is the result of a productive consultation process between the Idaho Senate delegation, the President and his team. Judge Nye’s combined experiences as a litigator and his service to Idaho as a district judge make him well-qualified to serve Idaho as our next federal district court judge,” said Crapo. “On top of his district court responsibilities, Judge Nye has presided over a highly successful diversionary felony drug court. He has also served Idaho’s legal community through his work on the Idaho Supreme Court felony sentencing and judicial education committees. Additionally, Judge Nye has taken on the responsibility of ensuring that all judges in Idaho are effective in their service by playing an active role in the mentoring and training of new judges throughout our state. As I have told the President, I am committed to working diligently and enthusiastically to obtain the consent of the Senate for Judge Nye’s confirmation.” “This has been a long and difficult process as we worked through potential candidates,” said Risch. “All applicants were considered and several vetted at various levels. The parties worked in good faith to reach an agreement. I am happy that we have settled on a sound and principled jurist who will be an outstanding judge.”

(Republican - Texas) 04/05/16
"I simply believe it is important--particularly in something that could extend for the next 25 or 30 years and really affect the balance of power on the Supreme Court--that this be left to the voters.... Frankly, my constituents back home think the rules ought to be the same no matter who happens to be in the majority and who happens to be in the White House.... We remain committed to the idea that this vacancy should be filled by the next President.... I hope we can continue to work together on these other consensus matters even though we disagree about this one very important matter. I am confident that we can and we will."

Senator Susan Collins Meets with Chief Judge Merrick Garland
(Republican - Maine) 04/05/16
Following their meeting, Senator Collins released this statement: “Considering a Supreme Court nominee is one of the Senate’s most important constitutional responsibilities. “During our lengthy discussion this morning, Chief Judge Garland and I discussed a wide variety of issues, ranging from executive overreach and the separation of powers, to Second Amendment cases, to his judicial philosophy. Judge Garland gave thorough, impressive responses to all of my questions, and I found him to be well informed, thoughtful, and extraordinarily bright. “Throughout my time in the Senate, I have always found that whether its legislation, nominations, or treaties, we are best served by following the regular order. That is why I have called for the Senate to proceed to the next step by holding public hearings. “My meeting today with Judge Garland left me more convinced than ever that the process should proceed. Public hearings before the Judiciary Committee would allow that the issues that we explored in my office today to be further reviewed and analyzed by the Senate.”

(Republican - Iowa) 04/05/16
"Chief Justice Roberts maintained that the public wrongly thinks Justices view themselves as Republicans or as Democrats.... What is troubling is that a large segment of the population views the Justices as political.... I believe the public's perception is at least sometimes very warranted.... The Chief Justice ruled out that this perception has anything to do with what the Justices themselves have done. Instead, he attributes it to the Senate confirmation process.... He would be well-served to address the reality--not the perception--that too often there is little difference between the actions of the Court and the actions of the political branches. So, Physician, heal thyself."

Sen. Perdue on blocking hearing for Judge Dax Lopez federal district court nomination
(Republican - Georgia) 04/01/16
"We’ve considered many nominees to the judiciary in the last year. It’s one of the most important things I do on the Judiciary Committee. In this instance, I looked at the information that was supplied to us by the White House and Department of Justice, and I had interviewed this candidate. I was not confident that this [his appointment] was the right thing to do. I have to protect the process and have to protect the Constitution relative to the people we put on the bench in a lifetime appointment. I think Judge Lopez has done a great job as a judge in the state. I have nothing negative to say about that. In our meeting, and in looking at the record, I still had several concerns [and] could not support naming him to a lifetime position on the federal bench."

Sen. Kirk on Judge Garland Supreme Court nomination
(Republican - Illinois) 03/29/16
Kirk said he was “leading by example” by meeting with the judge. “I’m showing what a rational, responsible guy would do who really wants the constitutional process to go forward,” he said. Kirk said there was a need for “a rational, adult, open minded consideration of the constitutional process.” Pressed on whether his colleagues who are refusing to consider Garland’s nomination are being open-minded and rational, he said: “I think when you just say, ‘I’m not going to meet with him,’ that’s too closed-minded.” Kirk added that Garland’s nomination “shouldn’t just be for nothing.” “We should have a long discussion about key issues before the court,” Kirk said, noting that he was particularly interested in discussing with Garland to what extent federal racketeering laws might be used to dismantle the illegal drug industry.

Sen. Murkowski on Judge Garland Supreme Court nomination
(Republican - Alaska) 03/25/16
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski will meet with President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court ... Murkowski spokeswoman Karina Petersen said in an email ... “She plans to raise the recent Sturgeon decision and gauge Judge Garland’s understanding of the uniqueness of Alaska’s key statutes,” Petersen wrote, referencing the Statehood Act, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Murkowski, who is seeking election to a third six-year term this year, will also query Garland about the Second Amendment and about the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in the District of Columbia v. Heller case, which found that an individual has the right to have a handgun in the home for self-defense. “She is currently doing her due diligence on Judge Garland’s record and opinions over this state work period and will have more following that review that we would be happy to share following the meeting,” Petersen wrote ... Murkowski was asked in a February interview with the News-Miner how she would handle the impending nomination if she were majority leader. She said the Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing “for whomever the president should name ... ” She expanded on her position in a statement the following day, saying that Obama should leave the nomination to the next president but that the “extraordinary circumstances” of the timing of the current vacancy give the Senate “every right to deny the nominee an up or down vote.” Murkowski still believes a confirmation hearing is acceptable. “The senator never held that position that the nomination should not be considered” by the Judiciary Committee, her spokeswoman said in the Friday email to the News-Miner.