WASHINGTON — In the wake of yesterday’s Senate confirmation of two long-pending federal district court nominees, People For the American Way urged lawmakers to commit to holding votes on all remaining district and circuit court nominees before the end of the year. While Senate Democrats have broken through Republican gridlock to hold votes on 10 pending district court nominees in the past few weeks, the future of nine district court and four circuit court nominees remains uncertain.
Yesterday, Fernando M. Olguin was confirmed to the US District Court for the Central District of California and Thomas M. Durkin was confirmed to the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Both were forced to wait over four months for a vote from the full Senate, even though there had been no substantive objections to their nominations. Both will fill officially-designated judicial emergencies. And both would have been confirmed in September if Republicans had not blocked Democratic efforts to schedule a simple yes-or-no vote.
“It’s encouraging to see that Senate Republicans are finally allowing votes on long-pending, uncontroversial district court nominees,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “But the fact that Republicans consider it a concession to Democrats to finally stop blocking votes on such nominees symbolizes how broken the Senate is and shows where responsibility for the problem lies. Four federal circuit court nominees, all highly qualified and supported by their home-state senators, have been waiting as long as nine months for a simple up-or-down vote from the Senate. With Election Day behind us and the end of this Congress fast approaching, it is imperative that these nominees be confirmed. There is absolutely no legitimate reason for Senate Republican stalling tactics that are leaving our courts under-staffed and denying justice to countless Americans.”
Circuit court nominees awaiting Senate votes are Patty Shwartz of New Jersey, Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma, William Kayatta of Maine and Federal Circuit nominee Richard Taranto.