06.19.14

SJC Approves 13 Judicial Nominees

Committee Also Begins Discussion Of Legislation To Renew Expiring STELA Law

WASHINGTON (Thursday, June 19, 2014) – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved 13 nominees to fill judicial vacancies and began discussion of bipartisan legislation authored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to reauthorize the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act.

Six of the nominees approved on Thursday would fill emergency vacancies, including two emergency vacancies on the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Another nominee, Ronnie White, was first nominated in 1997 by President Clinton to serve on the district court in Missouri but he was blocked by Senate Republicans. President Obama in January nominated Judge White, who was the first African American to become Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and who currently serves in private practice. Leahy hailed the Committee’s approval of Judge White’s nomination, which is supported by civil rights organizations and the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police. 

“I am proud once again to support the nomination of Ronnie White, an excellent nominee who has distinguished himself as a judge and attorney,” Leahy said. “The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police said ‘We can think of no finer or more worthy nominee,’ and I agree. Nearly 15 years after Ronnie White’s nomination was wrongly blocked by Senate Republicans, I hope that all Senators will stand on the right side of history and support his confirmation.”

The Committee also began discussion of legislation to reauthorize the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, a law known as “STELA” that provides certain consumers access to distant broadcast television content by satellite.  STELA’s current authorization expires at the end of the year. Leahy urged Senators to support the Satellite Television Access Reauthorization Act he introduced with Ranking Member Chuck Grassley last week (R-Iowa) so that satellite customers who cannot otherwise receive broadcast signals over-the-air do not lose access to their current television content.

“Senator Grassley and I have worked together on a reauthorization that will ensure that approximately 1.5 million customers, predominately in rural areas, do not lose access to the broadcast television signals that they currently receive come December 31,” Leahy said. “We must act swiftly to move a bipartisan, non-controversial STELA reauthorization through the Senate.”

Results and a webcast of Thursday’s executive business meeting can be found online

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