Leahy: Senate Republicans Should Confirm All Consensus Judicial Nominees Before End Of Year

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, November 10, 2015) –Senate Republicans are on pace to confirm the fewest number of judges in more than a half century, and yet, the Republican majority will once again not hold a confirmation vote this week for any one of the 21 consensus nominees pending on the executive calendar.  Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday urged Republicans to reverse course and quickly schedule confirmation votes on these nominees before the end of the year.

“The American people and the entire Federal justice system depend on the members of this body to fulfill our constitutional duty of providing advice and consent on judicial nominees,” Leahy said.  “This Senatorial duty is one we cannot neglect.  We should be supporting the judiciary by confirming qualified nominees to fill vacancies in courts throughout the country.”

All 21 judicial nominees pending in the Senate were reported unanimously by the Judiciary Committee.  This includes 5 nominees from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that were nominated a year and a half ago, as well as 10 judicial nominees to fill emergency vacancies.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the nomination of two outstanding nominees who continue to be held up without explanation.  One of these nominees is LaShann Hall, an African American woman who was nominated last year to fill an emergency vacancy on the Eastern District of New York.  The next nominee pending after her is Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo, who was nominated last year to fill an emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania.  While both nominees have the strong support of their home state Senators and were reported by the Judiciary Committee unanimously, they have waited for months on the Senate floor.

Leahy warned that if the Republican majority does not pick up the pace, even nominees with Republican support—like Restrepo—will not be confirmed this year.

“If Republican obstruction continues, and if home state Senators cannot persuade the Majority Leader to schedule a vote for their nominees soon, then it is unlikely that even highly qualified nominees with Republican support will be confirmed by the end of the year,” Leahy said.

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