04.24.08

Judiciary Committee Reports Three Judicial Nominations

WASHINGTON (Thursday, April 24, 2008) – The Senate Judiciary Committee today continued its progress in considering judicial nominations, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm three more lifetime appointments to the Federal bench.

Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expedited the Committee’s unanimous votes on three district court nominees, whose confirmation hearings were held just three weeks ago.  The nominees ordered to be reported to the full Senate include the district court nominations of Mark Davis for the eastern district of Virginia, David Gregory Kays for the western district of Missouri, and Stephen Limbaugh for the eastern district of Missouri.  The Committee this year has held five nominations hearings for 15 nominees, including 11 judicial nominations.  On Wednesday, Leahyannounced a sixth nominations hearing scheduled for May 1 for one appellate court and two district court nominees.

“Today the Committee furthered its progress in reducing judicial vacancies across the country,” said Leahy.  “While some Senators would like to engage in a back and forth about confirming a handful of controversial nominations, I remain committed to making progress where we can before time runs out in this presidential election year.”

On April 10, the Senate confirmed five nominations for lifetime appointments to the Federal bench, including the nomination of Catharina Haynes to fill the final vacancy on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  During the Bush administration, Democrats have worked to reduce the number of vacancies nationwide to less than half what they were at the end of the Clinton administration.  Vacancies on 12 of the 13 Circuit Courts of Appeals have been reduced or are at the same levels as they were at the end of the Clinton administration, when the Republican-led Senate left 26 vacancies, a number that swelled to 32 in the transition to the Bush administration.

Last week, Leahy announced a breakthrough in a decade-long impasse on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he is expected to expedite the consideration of nominations to fill the final two vacancies on the appellate court.  The May 1 hearing regarding the nomination of Steven Agee also makes progress in resolving a longstanding impasse for a Virginia seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

In this Congress, the Committee has now reported 48 judicial nominations, and 31 nominations for high-ranking positions in the Department of Justice, including the Department’s top three positions – Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General.

 

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