Senate Schedules Small Step Toward Ending Judicial Nominations Crisis but Leaves Much Work Undone
Press ContactKevin Fry firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C., September 27, 2011—Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron released the following statement concerning the announcement that 10 nominees to the federal courts will get final votes next week:
When this session of Congress began, not only had the relentless Republican obstruction of President Barack Obama’s nominees to the federal judiciary reached unprecedented levels, but the courts themselves faced a debilitating number of empty judgeships that threatened the soundness of the justice system itself. In January, there were 114 existing or expected vacancies, or one in nine seats. Astonishingly, as of today, there are 115, meaning the Senate and the courts have actually lost ground since January.
Almost a quarter of those vacant seats could be filled immediately by the 27 nominees currently waiting on the Senate floor for a final vote, virtually all of whom face no significant opposition. We are encouraged by the announcement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that 10 of them will get finally votes in the next few weeks, making a small but important dent in the crisis that afflicts our federal court system. While this action represents modest progress, there is no reason, of course, why all 27 should not be approved immediately. Nor is there any reason why any future nominees approved by the Judiciary Committee should languish on the Senate floor for months at a time, as these have.
The fact that only a third of those awaiting final votes are moving forward in coming weeks demonstrates that the Republican minority has not yet abandoned the tactics of delay that have undermined the functioning of the federal judiciary for the past two and a half years. Promises were made by the Republican leadership at the beginning of this session to end the shameful partisan blockade of President Obama’s nominees. It’s long past time they were kept.
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Alliance for Justice is the leading provider of information on federal judicial nominations. A continuously updated statistical summary of the nominations process is always available for download here.
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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.