Leahy Schedules Recess Hearing For Circuit Court Nominee

Judiciary Committee Will Hear From Texas Nominee During Senate’s February Recess

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008) – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing during the upcoming Senate recess on the nomination of Catharina Haynes to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Committee has also scheduled a hearing next week for four pending district court nominations.

As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Leahy helped the Senate confirm 40 of President Bush’s judicial nominations last year, including 6 for circuit courts.  More nominations were confirmed during the 2007 session of the Senate than during the preceding three sessions under Republican control.  There are currently 45 judicial vacancies.  The White House has failed to send nominations to the Senate for 19 of them.

“The Judiciary Committee is working to fill vacancies on the Federal judiciary,” said Leahy.  “I look forward to hearing from Ms. Haynes during her confirmation hearing.  I have been committed to considering President Bush’s nominations to the bench openly and fairly, but the Committee will not be bullied into holding hearings for divisive nominees that do not have the support of their home state senators.”

Leahy said Wednesday in a press conference that claims by the White House and others in the Senate that the Committee has delayed consideration of the President’s nominees ring hollow.

“The Senate has now confirmed 140 judges in the almost three years it has been run by a Democratic majority,” said Leahy, “In the more than four years of Republican control, the Senate confirmed just 158.”


Democrats have worked to reduce the number of vacancies on the Federal bench to less than half the number left in 2000 at the end of the Clinton administration.  Senate Republicans in the 1990s pocket filibustered 60 of President Clinton’s nominees, and the number of vacancies swelled to 100, including 32 circuit court vacancies, at the start of the Bush administration.  Today, there are just 45 vacancies, and circuit court vacancies are below 15.


The nominations hearing on Feb. 21 will be the first hearing for a circuit court nominee this year.


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The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on “Judicial Nominations” for Thursday, February 21, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.


By order of the Chairman


Witness List

Hearing before the

Senate Judiciary Committee


“Judicial Nominations”


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226

10:00 a.m.


Catharina Haynes, of Texas, to be United States Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Circuit

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693