WASHINGTON, D.C., January 11, 2016, Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron released the following statement in response to tonight’s senate confirmation of Judge L. Felipe Restrepo:
Alliance for Justice is pleased that the Senate has finally done what should have been done months ago and confirmed Judge L. Felipe Restrepo for a seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. But there is no excuse for a confirmation process that took an astonishing 426 days to complete. He was nominated in November of 2014 with the bipartisan support of both of Pennsylvania’s senators, re-nominated in January 2015, waited seven more months for a committee vote that ultimately was unanimous, then watched his utterly uncontroversial nomination sit in limbo on the Senate floor until today’s vote.
This sort of purposeless, irresponsible delay of highly qualified nominees for judgeships that are vital to the administration of justice cannot continue in 2016. There is another Third Circuit vacancy in Pennsylvania, and Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey should work with President Obama to make a prompt nomination. Once named, that nominee, unlike Judge Restrepo, should be afforded prompt, thorough, and respectful consideration. The American courts are not political pawns to be maneuvered in a cynical game of partisan posturing. Unlike the Senate, the judicial system does not take lengthy recesses from its work, and all pending nominees to the federal bench should be confirmed as soon as possible.