circuit court nominations

PFAW Praises Senate for This Week’s Action on Judicial Confirmations

After a two week recess, the Senate has made significant progress in judicial confirmations on its first week back. This is not due to a drop in Republican obstruction, but instead to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s determination to overcome that obstruction. Only one week during President Obama’s administration has seen more judicial confirmations. Since Monday, over GOP filibuster efforts, the Senate has confirmed eight district court nominees and one circuit court nominee, while breaking the filibuster of a second circuit court nominee. Nancy L. Moritz’s nomination to the Tenth Circuit is scheduled for Monday, May 5.

Clearing so many of President Obama’s judicial nominations is a nearly unprecedented occurrence for a Senate that has been bogged down by Republican obstruction every step of the way. People For the American Way’s Executive Vice President Marge Baker released the following statement:

“This was a good week for our justice system, with nine judges confirmed to the bench. Americans saw critical advancement in confirming the circuit court nominees who have been denied a vote for months. A Ninth Circuit judge was confirmed, and the filibuster of a Tenth Circuit judge was broken. We applaud the Senate for moving forward on these confirmations, which are crucial for our justice system to run efficiently and serve everyday Americans. It is heartening to see the Senate taking this important step to strengthen our judiciary.

“Senator Reid’s efforts to prioritize this issue and clear President Obama’s judicial nominations are making an impact. Despite Senate Republicans blocking nominees and delaying votes from the beginning, Senator Reid has pushed to move these nominations forward and this week, we’ve seen that work pay off.

“We hope to continue to see the Senate working for the benefit of American citizens by giving them the fully functioning courts they deserve.”

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Senate Should Quickly Confirm Circuit Nominees, Like in 2006 Midterm Year

Circuit court nominees who had not even been nominated at this point in 2006 were nevertheless quickly confirmed before the midterm elections.
PFAW

Hamilton Becomes Just Seventh Obama Nominee Confirmed to Federal Bench

In response to the successful confirmation of Judge David Hamilton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker said, "After months of concerted foot-dragging by Senate Republican leaders, Judge David Hamilton was finally confirmed."

Sessions' 'Extraordinary' Filibuster Falls Short Judge David Hamilton Advances

In response to the successful cloture vote on the nomination of Judge David Hamilton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker said, "After months of waiting, the path has finally been cleared for President Obama’s first judicial nominee Judge David Hamilton to join the Seventh Circuit."

President Obama to Announce First Judicial Nominee

According to media reports, President Obama will nominate David Hamilton, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, to a seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement: "David Hamilton is an ideal choice for this seat. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a willingness to put principle ahead of politics and bring an open mind to every case. Judge Hamilton has shown a deep commitment to the rule of law and core constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and justice for all Americans.

McConnell Throws Tantrum over Controversial Nominations, Holds Up Global Warming Bill

In response to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to hold up Senate business by requiring the clerk to read a 500-page amendment, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "Once again, the Senate Republicans are throwing a fit, demanding to have more Bush judicial nominees confirmed in the waning months of President Bush’s term. This time, they’re gumming up the works in the Senate with a parliamentary maneuver, effectively shutting down the Senate as it works on the global warming bill."

The Specter of More Right-Wing Judges

Statement on judicial nominations by People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert:

"In the waning days of President Bush’s unpopular presidency, Senator Arlen Specter and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are throwing temper tantrums over judges. They’ve even repeatedly threatened to shut down the Senate — which would hold up crucial legislation as the economy teeters on the edge of recession — if they don’t get their way.”

"Senators McConnell and Specter conveniently forget that over 300 of President Bush's judicial nominees have been confirmed — a greater percentage than were confirmed for President Clinton. More importantly, the longstanding and bipartisan Senate practice known as the 'Thurmond Rule' dictates that only non-controversial judicial nominees should be processed in the months preceding a presidential election.

"Senator Pat Leahy, who has gone far above and beyond what is required as committee chairman, announced that three additional federal circuit court nominees would be confirmed in short order. But that didn’t suit McConnell and Specter. They’re simply not interested in mainstream nominees that can win bipartisan backing — not when there are political points to be scored. Instead they’re playing to the base by pushing three highly controversial nominees.

"Senator Specter apparently learned a lesson four years ago when he nearly lost a primary to Patrick Toomey, the handpicked candidate of the Religious Right and Club for Growth. Ever since, Specter has been a pit bull for right-wing judges. That’s bad for Pennsylvania and bad for America.

"Senators Specter and McConnell will continue their pressure tactics around judges, but Senate Democrats must stand strong. The clock is ticking for President Bush, but it’s already run out for his controversial nominees."

 

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People For the American Way has background information on the three controversial nominees being pushed by Specter and McConnell: Peter Keisler for the DC Circuit and Robert Conrad Jr. and Steve Matthews for the Fourth Circuit.

Janice Rogers Brown

Despite Senate Democrats' filibuster of Janice Rogers Brown in 2003, President Bush renominated Brown to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in early 2005. Brown's record as a California Supreme Court justice raised serious concerns about her fitness, but she was nonetheless confirmed as part of the "Gang of 14" compromise to prevent the so-called "nuclear option" that would have eliminated judicial filibusters.
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