To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way
Re: Judicial Nominees and the State of the Union
Date: January 25, 2011
While it’s not clear exactly which Supreme Court Justices will attend President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, it is clear that at least some of the Court’s conservative members agree with the President on one pressing issue: the need to hasten the confirmation of judges to the federal bench.
Pundits will spend months discussing and dissecting the results of our most recent elections. Whether the root cause of the results is the country’s economic situation, the flood of outside money or something else, one thing is clear: Americans are angry at gridlock and partisanship in Washington. They don’t want political squabbles and they don’t want more talking points: they want a government that works.
And a well functioning judicial branch is central to having such a government.
Republican Senators are looking to show that they have any interest in responsible governance before November’s election, this is the last week for them to show it.
Currently, 23 of President Obama’s judicial nominees are waiting for a vote by the full Senate. Nineteen of those nominations have been pending for more than five months, some for nearly a year. Eleven of those nominations are to fill vacancies designated “judicial emergencies.”
Following yesterday’s 72-24 confirmation of Chris Schroeder to head the Office of Legal Policy, Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way, issued the following statement:
“The overwhelming confirmation vote puts a spotlight on the ongoing efforts by Senate Republican leaders to block the Obama administration at every turn. More importantly, it shows that Senate Democrats can successfully overcome Republican delay tactics by insisting on votes and highlighting obstruction.
According to media reports, Richard Shelby has placed a blanket “hold” on all executive branch nominations in an effort to secure federal spending in his state.