AFJ Blasts Senate Republicans for "Massive Denial of Justice"
Press ContactRichard Wexler email@example.com
Washington DC (September 20)—Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement on the failure of the United States Senate to confirm nominees for federal judgeships:
We all know that justice delayed is justice denied. This month, Republicans in the United States Senate engaged in a massive denial of justice.
Of the almost two dozen nominees to fill vacancies in United States District Courts and Circuit Courts of Appeal already approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee – nearly all with overwhelming bipartisan support - the Senate was able to confirm only 1 in September.
UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 22): Make that 3 in September. At the last minute, Senate Republicans relented and allowed two more judges to be confirmed – but that barely puts a dent in the problem.
Twelve [UPDATE: Now ten] of the unconfirmed nominees would fill vacancies in districts where the backlog of pending cases is so great that the Administrative Office of the Courts has declared “judicial emergencies.” Today, Senate Democrats made one last effort, seeking unanimous consent to approve the 17 District Court nominees. Consent was refused.
As a result:
Senate Republicans denied justice to people in the Northern District of Florida by refusing a floor vote on Mark Walker – even though his nomination was so noncontroversial it did not even need a roll call vote.
They denied justice to people in the Eastern District of Michigan, by refusing a floor vote on Terrence G. Berg – even though his nomination also was approved in committee by voice vote.
It was the same for vacancies in California, New York, Pennsylvania and many more.
When there are too few judges, the wait for justice can be unbearable. Forcing people to wait months, even years to stand up for their rights in court can do profound harm. Medical bills caused by injuries due to negligence may pile up while families wait for justice; parties may be forced to travel long distances as cases are shifted to districts with more judges; memories may fade, witnesses may die.
Republicans talk a lot about the Constitution. But they keep neglecting Article II Section 2 – the part that obligates them to provide “advice and consent” on nominations.
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.