04.14.15

After Months of Delay, Senate Republicans Finally Allow For a Vote on First Judicial Nominee of the 114th Congress

9 Judicial Nominees, AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Continue To Await Consideration on the Senate Floor

WASHINGTON (Monday, April 13, 2015) – The Senate on Monday unanimously approved the confirmation of a long-pending judicial nominee to fill an emergency vacancy in Texas, marking the first time the Republican majority has allowed a vote on a judicial nominee in the 114th Congress.

Judge Alfred Bennett is the first Federal judge confirmed by the Senate this year, by an overwhelming vote of 95-0.  Despite having the support of both Texas Senators and receiving unanimous support from the Judiciary Committee, his nomination languished for months on the Senate floor before the Republican majority scheduled a floor vote.  Two additional Texas district court nominees, along with seven nominees to fill vacancies on other courts, remain pending on the Senate floor awaiting final votes.

In contrast, by April 2007 the Senate Democratic majority had already brought up for a vote and confirmed 15 of the total of 68 district and circuit judges confirmed in the last two years of the Bush administration.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chaired the Judiciary Committee during that period, called on Senate Republicans to move quickly to confirm nominees and fill judicial vacancies in courts throughout the country.

“Despite promises to govern responsibly, the Republican majority has continued to obstruct when it comes to judicial vacancies,” he said in a record statement. “The fact that it has taken more than three months into the 114th Congress for the Republican majority to schedule a vote on a single judicial nominee is disconcerting, especially because all four of the district court nominees that have been languishing on the Senate floor were recommended to President Obama by their two Republican home state Senators.”

The nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General also continues to languish, despite her broad base of support and superior credentials.  Her nomination was reported out of the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support in February, yet it has been pending before the full Senate for 46 days.  That is nearly twice as long as all of the past seven Attorneys General combined.

“No one can deny that Ms. Lynch is eminently qualified for the job. The Republican Leader should schedule a vote on Ms. Lynch’s nomination today,” Leahy said. “She has the votes to be confirmed, and a vote on this highly qualified nominee is long overdue. The Majority must stop playing political games with our law enforcement.”

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