Alliance for Justice Urges Full Scale Push to Confirm Judicial Nominations when Congress Returns in September
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Washington, D.C., August 4, 2011— When the United States Senate left town this week for its August recess, it left behind the unfinished business of fully staffing the federal courts. Twenty nominees to federal district and circuit courts of appeal were left stranded on the Senate floor, unable to get a final confirmation vote as Republicans continued their tactics of endless delay and unwavering obstruction. Even including the four nominees approved on Tuesday, Republican leadership has allowed votes on only 10 nominees to lifetime seats in the last 12 weeks.
Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron repeated her call for action to end the crisis that has left federal courts across the country understaffed and increasingly unable to serve the interests of justice. “This week, once again, Republicans in the Senate have proven that they are willing to use the federal courts as pawns in an increasingly destructive and irresponsible partisan game,” she said. “This has been going on since Day One of the Obama presidency and it has to stop. The president has done his part to increase the pace of nominations. The Senate Judiciary Committee has vetted and voted on nominees at a brisk and responsible pace. But Republican leaders bring the entire process to a screeching halt on the Senate floor. When Congress returns in September, the blockade must end and the process must be allowed to move forward before more damage is done.”
Aron also praised the statement made today by White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler highlighting the gender and racial diversity of President Obama’s appointments. “One of President Obama’s greatest achievements is the extraordinary progress he has made in bringing diversity to the federal bench,” Aron explained. “It’s striking, in fact, that half of the 20 nominees currently being blocked from receiving final Senate votes are women. The old glass ceiling has apparently been replaced by a brick wall of intransigence and political gamesmanship.”
The plain unvarnished facts of the judicial crisis serve as evidence of the complete breakdown of the confirmation process and an unprecedented and reckless abandonment of constitutional responsibilities by Senate Republicans:
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Alliance for Justice is the leading provider of information on judicial nominations. A continuously updated statistical summary of the nominations process is available here: http://www.afj.org/judicial-selection/judicial-selection-snapshot.pdf . Additional information is also available on the AFJ Website at http://www.afj.org/judicial-selection/.
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Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. It is the leading expert on the legal framework for nonprofit advocacy efforts, providing definitive information, resources, and technical assistance that encourages organizations and their funding partners to fully exercise their right to be active participants in the democratic process. AFJ is based in Washington, D.C. Additional information can be found at www.afj.org.