Lower Federal Courts

GOP Obstruction of the DC Circuit: Infographics

Share these infographics to help set the record straight on the DC Circuit.

The Critically Important DC Circuit Court

Despite progressive victories in 2012, the Right’s outsized influence on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit gives it the power to undermine progressive laws and thwart the agenda that Americans elected President Obama to pursue.

Judicial Vacancies Wreaking Havoc In U.S. Courts

Judicial vacancies slow down courts’ work, drive up litigation costs, cause evidence to go stale, make it harder to settle civil cases, and even pressure defendants into pleading guilty, according to a report released this week by the Brennan Center. The report cites example after example of how not having enough judges erodes our nation’s system of justice. Everyone counts on having their day in court, a fundamentally American principle that is threatened by persistent vacancies. The report quotes Chief Judge William Skretny of New York’s Western District:

We don’t neglect the Seventh Amendment, the right to a civil trial. But we tell people, if this is what you want to do, it will take time to get there.

Heavier caseloads and backlog created by vacancies also take a toll on judges, reducing the amount of time they have to spend on each case.

Chief Judge [Leonard] Davis in the Eastern District of Texas described the situation in his district as “simple math.” With more cases “you have less time to give to [an individual] case,” he explained. “It affects the quality of justice that’s being dispensed and the quantity of work you can complete,” he added.

[Judge Davis] also highlighted the impact of the Sherman vacancy on the timing of sentencing. “It’s a hardship for the litigants,” he explained. “Due to the backlog and [the] vacancy [in Sherman], we have a very high population of criminal defendants, about 200, sitting in county jails, having pled guilty and waiting for sentences. They can’t get their cases processed.” He noted that inmates are typically housed in a county jail because there are no federal facilities available, which is more costly for the government and leaves inmates with fewer work and educational opportunities. “That’s not fair to [the inmates] and adds a great deal of unnecessary cost by having to house them for so long in county jail holding facilities,” he said.

As the report makes clear, vacancies have real impacts for all citizens. This is why PFAW supports the speedy confirmation of qualified judicial nominees to federal courts. Filling judicial vacancies with quality judges will reduce backlogs and costs while allowing the judicial system to better serve all Americans. Maintaining the third branch is one of the most important constitutional functions that the Senate performs.

PFAW

Fourth Circuit Unanimously Upholds Obamacare Subsidies

Judge Davis's concurring opinion blasts the illogical premise and political nature of the anti-ACA lawsuit.
PFAW Foundation

D.C. Circuit Old Guard Strikes Down Key Obamacare Subsidies Provision

Today's ruling from two GOP-nominated DC Circuit judges exemplifies why the Senate GOP fought so hard to prevent President Obama from naming anyone to that court.
PFAW

Diversity Milestone for Obama's Judicial Nominees

President Obama reached a diversity milestone last week: 100 people of color nominated and confirmed to our federal circuit and district courts.
PFAW

Grassley's Hypocrisy Comes Out in the Ronnie White Debate

Grassley sharply criticized White for something that he was fine with when Samuel Alito did it.
PFAW

Senate Corrects a 15-Year Old Injustice and Confirms Ronnie White

The Senate did today what it should have done in the 1990s when Ronnie White was nominated by President Clinton.
PFAW

Tenth Circuit Protects Right to Marry

A federal appeals court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
PFAW Foundation

2001 Recording Undercuts Georgia Judicial Nominee Mike Boggs' 2014 Testimony

A 2001 recording shows that legislators discussed the threat to abortion providers posed by legislation that Mike Boggs voted for.
PFAW

Marco Rubio Fails Florida, Doesn't Help Florida Judicial Nominees

Rubio lets his party delay the filling of four emergency judicial vacancies with consensus nominees who he recommended.
PFAW

Will Marco Rubio Let His Colleagues Delay Four Florida Judicial Nominees?

With a dire need to fill emergency vacancies in Florida, will Rubio ask the GOP not to delay a committee vote on four Florida judicial nominees?
PFAW

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

So Many Vacancies, So Little Cooperation from GOP Senators

Judicial vacancies are remaining open and without nominees in states with Republican senators.
PFAW

Obama's Had a Lot More Judicial Vacancies to Fill than Bush Did

A statistic on parity in confirmations is misleading without additional information about vacancies and nominations.
PFAW

A Commendably Speedy Process for a Vermont Judicial Recommendation

Patrick Leahy has shown the country what an exemplary process for identifying potential district court judges looks like.
PFAW

West Texas Judges Talk About the Need for More Judges

The Chief Judge, a visiting judge, and a former judge all agree that the Western District of Texas needs more judges to handle the heavy caseload.
PFAW

Severe Conditions in Texas Courts

Given the urgent need to fill district court vacancies in Texas, recommending nominees should be among Senators Cornyn and Cruz's top concerns.
PFAW

More Professional Diversity in Recent Judicial Nominations

The professional diversity of President Obama's recent judicial nominees will make the judiciary stronger.
PFAW
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