senate

PFAW Memo: Senate Needs to Confirm Pending Judicial Nominees

To: Interested Parties
From: Paul Gordon, Senior Legislative Counsel, People For the American Way
Date: September 15, 2014
Subject: Senate Needs to Confirm Pending Judicial Nominees

There is probably little more than a week before the Senate goes out on recess until after the election. One of the most important – and undoubtedly quickest and easiest – things it can do before then is confirm 16 judicial nominees, most of whom have overwhelming bipartisan support.
                                                                                      
One of the most important responsibilities of the United States Senate is to maintain a functioning federal court system. District courts are the backbone of the American judicial system. They are where people turn when they feel their rights have been violated. “Having your day in court” is an essential part of the American ideal. But that ideal cannot be met if we don’t have enough judges to make it happen. Even if every vacancy in the country were filled tomorrow, it wouldn’t be enough: The Judicial Conference of the United States – the entity responsible for assessing the federal courts’ ability to effectively manage their caseloads – has urged Congress to create an additional 85 district court judgeships. So when an existing vacancy can be filled with a qualified nominee, it ought to be done with dispatch.

Right now, nominees for 16 such vacancies can be confirmed within the next few days. Seven of these were fully vetted and approved by the Judiciary Committee and have been waiting for a floor vote since June or July. Of these seven, all but one of them advanced without any opposition. Four alone are from Georgia: nominees who have the unanimous support of the Judiciary Committee’s Democratic and Republican senators. There are no more questions to ask of these nominees, except when they will be allowed to take up their judicial responsibilities and fill empty courtrooms in Georgia, New York, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

The remaining nine were scheduled for a committee vote last week, having had their confirmation hearings back in July. They have been nominated for judgeships in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Four of them – nearly half – would serve in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a state with so many vacancies that it alone accounts for 15% of the nation’s total, but Chairman Leahy was forced by the GOP to delay the vote. Republicans gave no reason for the delay, but they rarely do: Since President Obama took office, Republicans have exercised the right of the minority party to have a committee vote “held over” (delayed) by at least a week without cause for nearly all of his judicial nominees, part of their overall mechanism of obstruction. Fortunately, they are expected to get their overdue committee approval later this week.

There remains plenty of time to confirm all 16 nominees before the Senate goes out for its pre-election recess next week.

The fact that we are heading into an election is no reason not to hold these confirmation votes. In fact, in September of 2008, a presidential election year – and the twilight of George W. Bush’s presidency, no less – Democrats rushed several of his nominees through to make sure they got confirmed before recess (and before his presidency ended). Ten of Bush’s district court nominees were confirmed just one day after being approved by the Judiciary Committee. All ten had had their committee hearings earlier that same month – in some cases, during that same week. The confirmation votes took hardly any time at all, since all ten were considered and confirmed as a bloc by unanimous consent.

Interestingly, three of those 2008 nominees were from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where four of the current 16 nominees could be serving by next week, if given the chance.

Republicans still have a chance to demonstrate that they can prioritize the functioning of the U.S. court system over their own partisan interests. But it seems unlikely. Since last year, the GOP has insisted that no judicial nominee, despite their bipartisan support, advance on the Senate floor without time-consuming cloture votes and roll-call confirmation votes. And it isn’t just the roll-call votes that take time (although each one can take nearly an hour). Without unanimous consent to waive the chamber’s time requirements, cloture votes cannot be held until two days after cloture petitions are filed, and each confirmation vote requires at least an hour of needless “post-cloture debate” even after the filibuster is broken.

If Republicans successfully prevent votes this month, the earliest the courtrooms will see some relief will be in a potential lame duck session.  That means another two month wait until clearly qualified nominees are  able to take their seats in courtrooms around the country.  There is simply no good reason for such delay.
 

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Over 1,000 Law Professors Condemn Senate Vote on Debo Adegbile’s Nomination

Last month, the US Senate failed to invoke cloture on the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department after a right-wing smear campaign that attacked Adegbile for helping provide legal representation at the appellate level to Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted murderer, while working at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Every Senate Republican and seven Democrats voted to filibuster Adegbile’s nomination, effectively blocking the nomination and throwing out the window the constitutional ideal that all criminal defendants should have access to quality legal representation.

People For the American Way’s vice president Marge Baker called the filibuster a “triumph of demagoguery.”

Last week, over one thousand law professors came together to publicly condemn the vote by writing a letter to the Senate where they explain the ramifications of the vote for law students, lawyers, and the legal profession as a whole. The letter – dated April 25, 2014 – states:

[W]e are deeply concerned that the vote and the rationale publicly articulated by a majority of Senators rejecting Mr. Adegbile sends a message that goes to several core values of the legal profession. These include the right to counsel, the importance of pro bono representation, and the importance of ensuring that constitutional protections are afforded to every criminal defendant regardless of the crimes for which they are accused.

As law teachers we are particularly concerned about the disquieting message conveyed to law students and graduates entering the profession who may fear that their engagement with pro bono representation of unpopular clients may imperil their future eligibility for federal government service.

…We believe that the criticism of Mr. Adegbile, based on his representation of a death row inmate, is unjust and inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of our profession. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the assistance of counsel to persons charged with crimes, and all accused defendants are entitled to zealous representation by competent counsel.

The highest calling of any lawyer is to ensure that the Constitution is applied fairly and in accordance with the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court to every defendant.

…The debate surrounding Mr. Adegbile’s confirmation also threatens to undermine the widely-recognized importance of lawyers providing pro bono representation to meet unmet legal needs. Providing representation to defendants on death row is among the most challenging, resource-intensive and critically important pro bono counsel a lawyer can provide. Lawyers engaged in this work should be commended rather than denounced for their hard-work and commitment to ensuring that the protections of the Constitution are extended even to those accused of heinous crimes.

…Finally, as every lawyer knows – including the 57 in the U.S. Senate – we are not our clients. The constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel would be turned on its head if the contrary view were advanced. Indeed, had past candidates for public office been held to the Senate’s unjust standard, our nation would have been deprived of the likes of President John Adams (who defended British soldiers charged with killing Americans in the Boston Massacre), Justice Thurgood Marshall (who defended countless black men on death row in the Jim Crow South), and Chief Justice John Roberts (who represented convicted serial killer John Errol Ferguson).

Simply put, the rule of law cannot succeed if attorneys are judged guilty by association with their clients. In rejecting a qualified nominee for public service based on conduct which reflects the best of our profession, the Senate has done a grave disservice to the legal profession and those who seek to enter it.

PFAW

All GOP Senate Candidates in North Carolina Deny Existence of Climate Change

Many Americans celebrate Earth Day by planting trees, organizing a citywide trash pickup, or talking about the consequences of climate change and the ongoing threat it creates for our planet. But on Earth Day yesterday, all four Republican candidates for Senate in North Carolina used the opportunity to deny that climate change is real. TPM reports:

Fittingly, all four Republican candidates in the North Carolina Senate race were asked on Earth Day if they believed climate change is a proven fact. And all four candidates said "no."

The question was asked during a GOP primary debate on Tuesday night. The candidates, House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rev. Mark Harris, Dr. Greg Brannon, and nursing practitioner Heather Grant, in response to the question, said "no."

This is not the first time Republicans have denied the existence of climate change and it will likely not be the last. But the fact that all four candidates agreed underscores the GOP extremism in the North Carolina Senate race and serves as yet another example of a political party increasingly divorced from reality.

PFAW

In the Senate, Michelle Friedland's Nomination to 9th Circuit Advances Despite Continued GOP Obstruction

Today, the Senate voted to advance the nomination of Michelle Friedland to the 9th Circuit.

Friedland was one of many superb, highly qualified judges caught up in Republicans' blanket obstruction of judicial nominees, and President Obama was forced to re-nominate her for the court this year. After today’s vote, she still faces 30 hours of potential "post-cloture debate," unless Republicans allow the Senate to move forward on the nomination more expeditiously.

Even though the Senate changed its filibuster rule for judicial and executive branch nominations, lowering the threshold from 60 votes to a simple majority in order to invoke cloture and advance nominees toward confirmation votes, Republicans continue to force cloture votes as a procedural hurdle. The delay created by these votes and the subsequent 30-hour wait before a confirmation can occur amounts to a stubborn form of obstruction in itself.

And this is just one way that Senate Republicans are continuing to hold up the judicial nomination process. Judicial nominees from states with Republican senators also face unreasonable, meritless obstruction due the GOP's abuse of the Senate's "blue slip" policy, by which a senator can unilaterally put a permanent hold on a nominee from his or her state before they even get a hearing.

There are currently 31 judicial nominees on the Senate's calendar, many for long-unfilled vacancies and nearly half for ones that have been declared "judicial emergencies." As vacancies languish, courts can't do their job and in turn, Americans are denied access to justice. If Republican senators ended their obstruction and allowed the 31 pending nominees to go through, that alone would fill a third of the nation's current vacancies.

But based on how Republicans on Capitol Hill are behaving, we shouldn't hold our breath.

Today alone, in addition to wasting the Senate's time and taxpayers' money by forcing the Leadership to hold a cloture vote on Michelle Friedland, instead of just bringing her confirmation straight to an up-or-down vote:

  • Republican senators successfully filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act, for the third time, despite persistent inequity in pay for women and men doing the same work.
  • And on the House side, Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee blocked Democrats' attempt to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) up for consideration.

We’re going to keep fighting to get as many more nominees confirmed as we can this year, before time runs out. But the message we send to Republicans in November is tremendously important as well.

Winning or losing at the ballot box could be the difference between a continued vacancy crisis on federal courts dominated by pro-corporate, conservative ideologue judges or the restoration of balance and justice to our courts with the confirmation of highly qualified judges who understand the promises of the Constitution and how the law impacts the lives of real people.

PFAW

PFAW Applauds Perez Confirmation

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today applauded the Senate confirmation of Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor.  Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, released the following statement:

“Anyone who cares about the fair treatment of workers or civil rights should be thrilled by the confirmation of Tom Perez.  During his time in the Justice Department, Perez’s commitment to protecting the rights of Americans – whether they are women, people of color, LGBT people, or people with disabilities – has been extraordinary.  He has spent his career fighting for the rights of all Americans and now he will be able to take that passion and commitment to the Department of Labor. 

“Even though today’s vote is an important step forward, we must continue to confront the partisan gridlock in the Senate that is hurting the American people. We must ensure that the President’s judicial nominees, like his executive nominees, also receive up and down votes. The American people understand that when senators decide they’d rather play politics than do their jobs, it harms not only Congress but all of our country.”

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Ted Cruz Mocks His GOP Colleagues, Calls Newtown Families 'Props' and Takes Credit for Blocking Background Checks

In remarks to a Tea Party group, Sen. Ted Cruz again showed why he's a political liability for the GOP.

Tim Scott: Christians Are a Minority under Assault (VIDEO)

Tim Scott, who is set to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, got his start in politics when he was elected in 1996 to the Charleston County Council. One year later, according to his 2010 campaign website, “he placed a plaque of the Ten Commandments outside council offices to show his support for the Ten Commandments as a guide for conduct, especially within the county chambers.”

The city was promptly sued for this blatant violation of the First Amendment. By 1998, Scott’s colleagues had decided to remove his display and settle the lawsuit. When challenged on why he was wasting taxpayer dollars, Scott replied that “whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal is worth it.”

Scott’s unconstitutional grandstanding as a county councilmember made him a favorite of the Christian right in South Carolina and put him on the track that he’s followed ever since. Scott returned to his roots while addressing a Tea Party rally in January, hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, ahead of a GOP primary debate.

Scott claimed that the “greatest minority under assault today are Christians.” “No doubt about it,” he emphasized. (Note that Scott says 1995 in the video, but he misspoke – he was elected in 1996 and posted the display in 1997.)

Watch:

Over the last 17 years of public service, I have seen the concept of faith tested time and time again. The greatest minority under assault today are Christians. No doubt about it.

When I was on county council in 1995, I posted the Ten Commandments. And the ACLU and the folks for separation of church and state all came and attacked us at Charleston County and said we were wasting taxpayer dollars.

Think about where we are today, 17 years later. We are in desperate need of a compass, a moral compass that tells us the difference between right and wrong. And I believe that you can look no further than the word of God to find that compass.

Tim Scott actually believes what he said about Christians being a minority under assault. Never mind that Christians aren’t a minority. Never mind that Christians control every branch of government at every level. Never mind that Christians aren’t under assault in any conceivable way.

Still, Scott feels that Christians are a minority under assault because Christians like him are being prevented by the Constitution and other Americans – Christian and non-Christian alike – from forcing everyone to live in accordance with their extreme views and beliefs. It’s a bit like the Taliban claiming that the Afghan government is attacking Islam.

Scott clearly has not changed with time and will display the same utter disregard for the First Amendment as senator that he did as a county councilmember. It’s just another way that Scott will fill the shoes of his right-wing predecessor.

Tim Scott’s Tea Party Poetry

Congressman Tim Scott, who will soon replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, is not a common man. He's quite uncommon, as is his right, and he doesn't cower or take handouts. He declares to the entire world, even if no one is listening, that he's a "free American."

Scott acknowledged as much in a bit of Tea Party poetry on his 2010 campaign website, entitled: "Republican Creed":

I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon.

If I can seek opportunity, not security,
I want to take the calculated risk to dream and
build, to fail and to succeed.
I refused to barter incentive for dole.

I prefer the challenges of life to
guaranteed security, the thrill of fulfillment
to the state of calm utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence,
nor my dignity for a handout.

I will never cower before any master,
save my God.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and
unafraid. To think and act for myself, enjoy the
benefits of my creation; to face the whole world
boldly and say, "I am a free American."

God Told Tim Scott to Vote against Boehner’s Debt Deal

In late July of 2011, House Speaker John Boehner was closing in on a deal to end the debt ceiling crisis, but something happened during the final hours of debate. “The math appeared to turn against the speaker,” and “key lawmakers, like Representative Tim Scott of South Carolina, a member of the freshman leadership team, said he would join the other freshmen from his state and vote no.”

Scott, who will soon replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, holed up in the House chapel with a group of freshman conservatives. There Scott received instructions from God to vote against an increase in the debt ceiling:

With the bill in limbo, a few first-term conservatives slipped into a small chapel a few paces down the hall from the Capitol Rotunda, as they contemplated one of the most consequential votes of their careers.

Asked if he was seeking divine inspiration, Republican Rep. Tim Scott said that had already happened. "I was leaning no and now I am a no," he said.

While it is typical for Tea Party and Religious Right politicians to claim to know what God wants, they normally rely on Biblical references. Tim Scott, it would appear, is in a different league with luminaries like Pat Robertson, who famously hears from God at the end of each year.

I suggested earlier that Republican leaders could come to regret the elevation of Scott to the Senate. Scott provides sorely needed diversity and will keep Tea Partiers engaged, to be sure, but Boehner surely didn’t appreciate hearing from a freshman member that God opposes his debt deal. I can’t imagine that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will appreciate going up against God’s proxy either. This could get interesting….

South Carolina's Next Senator Tim Scott Is Bachmann, Palin and Sanford-Approved

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will announce shortly that she has picked Rep. Tim Scott to replace Senator Jim DeMint, who is leaving to head up the right-wing Heritage Foundation. DeMint’s imminent retirement is seen by many as a setback for the Tea Party, which had a genuine champion in DeMint, and a sign that the movement’s best days are behind it. But the Tea Party is still raging in South Carolina, and Scott is poised to become its new Senate standard-bearer.

Tim Scott was elected to Congress in 2010, becoming the first African-American Republican to represent South Carolina since Reconstruction (when the party of the Lincoln was still the party of Lincoln). Scott served for over a decade on the Charleston County Council before serving briefly in the state house. While he gained statewide – and now national – attention as a darling of the Tea Party movement, he has a far more extensive background as a cultural warrior for the Religious Right.

With Scott poised to replace DeMint in the Senate, we’re going to explore his extreme, and frequently bizarre, record. Be sure to read Peter’s primer on Scott from earlier today.

Scott made the leap from the county council to state house in 2008 with major backing from then-Governor Mark Sanford. Sanford was a family values conservative and rising star in the national GOP until he was caught eloping with his Argentine mistress. Sanford famously claimed that he had been hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Before he did all that, Sanford vouched for Scott’s sterling conservative credentials in an open letter posted to Scott’s campaign website:

I wanted to write to you today to let you know about a friend of mine who is running for the State House of Representatives who needs our help.

Tim Scott is a consistent conservative who will carry our values to the State House. […]

Tim is also a proven social conservative who will stand up for the family values that help to make our state a great place to live and work.

Because of his strong stands on conservative issues, I have endorsed Tim’s candidacy for the House.  Today, I am asking for you to join us in supporting Tim, both with your vote and with your financial contributions. 

And when Scott ran for Congress in 2010, he enjoyed strong backing and an endorsement from Sarah Palin:

Tim is a pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-development, Commonsense Conservative who’s been endorsed by the Club for Growth because of his solid commitment to the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. […]

“I am excited to receive the support of Sarah Palin. She has been a trailblazer for the conservative cause and tea party movement going on across the nation. We share the same values of limited government, less spending and being a champion for our Constitution.”

Michele Bachmann also gushed over Scott last year during the GOP presidential primary: “All of us in Washington, D.C., are extremely proud of you for choosing the right man to send from Charleston up to Washington. We love Tim Scott!”

Bachmann and Palin clearly have good reason to be excited about a Senator Tim Scott. Republican leaders, on the other hand, may soon find that they have a new liability on their hands. Keep an eye on Right Wing Watch for more coverage of Scott’s record.

Edit Memo: Debunking the GOP’s Spin on Judicial Obstruction

To: Interested Parties

From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way

Re: Debunking the GOP’s Spin on Judicial Obstruction

Date: March 13, 2012

Senate Democrats are taking action this week to call Republicans on their unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees, which over the past three years has left far too many of our nation's courtrooms empty. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture petitions in an attempt to end the GOP filibusters of all 17 district court nominees currently waiting for Senate votes, most of whom have been stalled for over three months for absolutely no reason. And already, Senate Republicans have concocted a false spin in an attempt to cover for the mess they have helped to create in the federal courts.

Reid’s action is unprecedented: only two district court nominees were filibustered in the sixteen years of the Bush and Clinton presidencies. As of yesterday, nineteen of President Obama’s district court nominees have been filibustered.

If Republicans don’t back down and allow up-or-down votes on these nominees, the cumbersome cloture process will tie up the senate until early April – and it will become very clear to the American people that Republicans’ top priority is gridlock, not policy.

In response, Senate Republicans have united behind a message that seeks to blame President Obama for the gridlock they created. Their claim is that their unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees is a direct response to President Obama’s recess appointments of a director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and members of the National Labor Relations Board -- appointments that they neglect to mention were themselves necessary because of Republican obstruction.

This narrative is simply not true. Even a cursory look at the last three years shows that today’s Republican obstruction is not related to their fury at the president’s recess appointments. In fact, these unprecedented levels of obstruction have been going on since President Obama took office. By the end of 2011, before the recess appointments, President Obama's confirmed district court nominees had been stalled more than four times longer on average than President Bush's. That is the case today, as well.

The unjustified delays in 2009-2011 were hardly caused by recess appointments made in 2012.

Make no mistake: the Senate GOP’s obstruction of judicial nominees is part of a deeply cynical effort to create gridlock in Washington and to keep as many courtrooms empty for as long as possible in the hopes of having a Republican president fill them in 2013.

Our federal courts are now facing a historic vacancy crisis, and Americans are facing unjustified delays as they seek their day in court. Senate Republicans should ditch the false excuses for their obstruction, and start doing the job they were elected to do.

Press Contact: Miranda Blue, (202) 467-4999, media@pfaw.org.

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Senate GOP Backs Down on Judicial Obstruction, Confirms Furman

The Senate today confirmed Jesse Furman to sit on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, over five months after his nomination was approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee. The vote came after the GOP quietly ended its five-month filibuster of Furman’s nomination, which was all but unheard of for an unopposed district court nominee.

President Obama’s judicial nominees have waited an average of 91 days for an up-or-down vote from the Senate after being approved by the Judiciary Committee. For President Bush’s nominees at this point in his presidency, the average wait was 23 days. The Senate GOP was roundly criticized last week for obstructing the nomination of Circuit Court nominee Adalberto Jordan, who was confirmed in a 94-5 vote after four months of delay.

“Americans across the board are fed up with Republicans in Congress,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “Watching the Senate GOP’s charade around judicial nominees, there’s no wonder why. Republicans in the Senate filibustered Adalberto Jordan, a consensus pick for a judicial emergency on the 11th Circuit and the first Cuban American on the court, for four months – and once their filibuster was broken, stalled him for two more days for absolutely no reason. Then, they filibustered Jesse Furman, an unopposed district court nominee who has been waiting over five months for a vote, but at the last minute backed down.

“The GOP backed down under pressure from Americans who expect better of their elected officials. Republicans in the Senate should stop the obstruction charade altogether and allow up-or-down votes on the remaining 20 nominees on the calendar.”

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Senate Confirms California Judicial Nominee, GOP Continues to Stall 18

The Senate confirmed U.S. District Court nominee Cathy Ann Bencivengo

The Senate today confirmed the nomination of Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, based in San Diego. The 90-6 vote highlighted the needlessness of the obstruction that caused Bencivengo to wait 126 days for consideration by the Senate after her unanimous approval by the Judiciary Committee.

Bencivengo will fill one of a dozen vacant federal court seats in California, and one of six that have been designated “judicial emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Bencivengo, who is currently a Magistrate Judge, received the highest rating from the American Bar Association and a glowing recommendation from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

“The Senate’s confirmation of Judge Bencivengo brings a talented jurist to the federal bench, and is a step toward relieving the enormous caseload burden that has caused Southern Californians to face long delays as they seek their day in court,” said People For the American Way’s Marge Baker. “The judicial crisis in California, unfortunately, is not unique. The Senate GOP should immediately allow votes on the other eighteen highly-qualified nominees still on the calendar. Our Justice system is too important to be a pawn in partisan politics.”

Bencivengo’s confirmation leaves eighteen judicial nominees on the Senate’s calendar. The overwhelming majority have strong bipartisan support. Thirteen are women or people of color.

President Obama’s district court nominees have waited an average of 90 days after committee approval for a vote from the full Senate, in contrast to a mere 23 days for George W. Bush’s district court nominees at this point in his presidency.

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PFAW Applauds President for Appointing Cordray; Recess Appointment a Necessary and Proper Response to GOP Obstruction

In a move to ensure the functioning of an important consumer protection agency in the face of escalating GOP obstructionism, the White House announced that President Obama will install Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a recess appointment today.

Marge Baker of People For the American Way issued the following statement:

Senate GOP Again Moves Goalposts on Judicial Nominees, Leaves 21 Unconfirmed at End of Session

The Senate ended its 2011 session on Saturday, leaving 21 judicial nominees on its calendar. All but two of the abandoned nominees were supported by a bipartisan majority of the Judiciary Committee. Under none of the previous four presidents has the Senate left noncontroversial nominees without a vote at the end of a session.

Before Going Home for the Holidays, Senate Should Confirm Pending Judicial Nominees

Before Going Home for the Holidays, Senate Should Confirm Pending Judicial Nominees

PFAW: Senate GOP Chooses Big Banks Over Consumers, Blocks Cordray Nomination

The Senate GOP today blocked a vote on the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Senate GOP Plays Games with Halligan Nomination, Sets Dangerous Precedent

In a move that could have far-reaching implications for the ability of the president and the Senate to fill the federal courts, the Senate GOP today succeeded in blocking a vote on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, denying cloture on the nomination with a nearly party-line 54-45 vote.

PFAW Applauds Progress on Judicial Nominations, Urges Senate to Vote on Remaining Nominees

The Senate Judiciary Committee today reported out five new judicial nominees and the Senate confirmed three, bringing to 27 the total number of nominees still waiting for a vote from the full Senate. This puts the nominations backlog back to where it was last month before Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed through votes on ten nominees who received broad bipartisan support.

The Senate Judiciary Committee today reported out five new judicial nominees and the Senate confirmed three, bringing to 27 the total number of nominees still waiting for a vote from the full Senate. This puts the nominations backlog back to where it was last month before Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed through votes on ten nominees who received broad bipartisan support.

“Senator Reid took an important step last month when he stood up to Republican obstructionism and pressured the Senate to confirm ten highly qualified judicial nominees,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “Unfortunately, since then the nominations backlog has returned to its previous size. The Senate should make it a priority to completely clear the current nominations backlog. Holding a vote on all 27 nominees currently on the calendar would provide desperately needed assistance to strained courts throughout the country and demonstrate Congress’s ability to do its job.

“Senate Republicans have made a habit of delaying President Obama’s judicial nominees hostage for as long as possible. This obstructionism is bad for the American people, who depend on both an efficient justice system and an effective legislature. It’s time for the Senate to do its job and hold votes on these 27 nominees.”

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Meet The New Freshman Class of Extremist Senators

In PFAW's latest video, we introduce the new class of right wing extremist Senators that have arrived in Washington.
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