This afternoon the Senate Judiciary committee held a hearing on the nominations of Edgardo Ramos, Andrew L. Carter, Jr., and Jesse M. Furman to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, James Rodney Gilstrap to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and Jennifer Guerin Zipps to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
Judge Zipps was nominated to fill the seat of the late Judge John Roll, who was tragically killed in the January shooting spree targeted at Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).
Arizona currently has three judicial vacancies, and the entire state has been declared a “judicial emergency” due to the lack of judges. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) thanked the Judiciary Committee’s Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), for adding Judge Zipps to today’s hearing, even though she had not been scheduled to appear.
Senator Leahy deserves praise for processing nominees through the Judiciary Committee in a timely manner. Despite the committee’s swift action on nominees, the full Senate is not confirming nominees fast enough, and there are now 114 current and future vacancies in the federal courts, the same amount as there were at the beginning of the year.