People For the American Way

1000-Day Judicial Vacancy in Georgia

This Memorial Day weekend will be the 1000th day since Eleventh Circuit Judge Stanley Birch retired, leaving a vacancy that has yet to be filled. Way back at the beginning of 2012, President Obama nominated the exceptionally qualified Jill Pryor to fill the seat. Her home state senators, Georgia's Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, have both acknowledged that she is qualified for a lifetime judicial appointment, but they want the president to nominate someone else for the circuit seat. They have steadfastly refused to submit their approval for the Judiciary Committee to process the nomination and give committee members a chance to ask the nominee questions in a public hearing. Without that permission from home state senators, committee chairman Patrick Leahy chooses not to move a nomination. So Pryor sits in limbo, and the vacancy remains open.

While Chambliss and Isakson work to keep the vacancy open for more than 1000 days, their colleagues on the Judiciary Committee are pushing a transparently partisan scheme to steal unfilled seats from the D.C. Circuit (which conservatives want to keep control over) and give them to the Eleventh Circuit, which doesn't need them. If they are really concerned about getting more judges for the Eleventh Circuit, perhaps they should talk to their colleagues from Georgia.


D.C. Circuit, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Jill Pryor, Johnny Isakson, judges, judicial nominations, Lower Federal Courts, Obstruction, Obstructionism, Saxby Chambliss