07.23.12

Leahy Urges Confirmation Of Long-Pending District Court Nominee

WASHINGTON (Monday, July 23, 2012) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick (D-Vt.) today called on the Senate to confirm Michael Shipp to fill a vacancy on the federal District Court for the District of New Jersey. 

Shipp is one of 21 judicial nominees pending on the Senate calendar awaiting final floor consideration.  Shipp’s nomination was reported by the Judiciary Committee in April. In a floor statement, Leahy noted that Shipp was the first African-American United States Magistrate Judge on the district court for New Jersey.

“There is no good reason that the Senate should not vote on consensus nominees like Judge Shipp and more than a dozen other consensus judicial nominees to fill Federal trial court,” said Leahy. “I wish that the Senate would confirm the 21 judicial nominees pending right now.”

Leahy’s full statement can be viewed on his website.

 

 

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,

On The Nomination Of Michael Shipp To The U.S. District Court For

The District Of New Jersey

July 23, 2012

This is a Federal trial court nomination that was voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee more than three months ago and supported nearly unanimously by both Republican and Democratic Senators who have reviewed it. 

Judge Michael Shipp has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of New Jersey since 2007 and has presided over civil and criminal matters and issued over 100 opinions.  He is the first African-American United States Magistrate Judge in that district. 

This is the 29th judicial nominee of President Obama for which the Majority Leader has been forced to file for cloture to end a filibuster and get an up-or-down vote, but I am pleased that we will now be able to vote on confirmation for Judge Shipp. 

In June, Senate Republicans confirmed that they shut down the confirmation process for qualified and consensus circuit court nominees.  They are now filibustering Judge Patty Shwartz of New Jersey who is nominated to the Third Circuit and Richard Taranto who is nominated to the Federal Circuit. 

In addition, they are filibustering two circuit court nominees who have the support of both their home state Republican Senators:  William Kayatta of Maine to the First Circuit and Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma to the Tenth Circuit.  This is truly unprecedented. 

During the past five presidential election years, Senate Democrats have never denied an up-or-down vote to any circuit court nominee of a Republican President who received bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee. 

In fact, during the last 20 years, only four circuit nominees reported with bipartisan support have been denied an up-or-down vote by the Senate and all four were nominated by President Clinton and blocked by Senate Republicans. 

This entire year, the Senate has yet to vote on a single circuit court nominee who was nominated by President Obama this year.  Since 1980, the only presidential election year in which there were no circuit nominees confirmed who was nominated that year was in 1996, when Senate Republicans shut down the process against President Clinton’s circuit nominees.

There is no good reason that the Senate should not vote on consensus nominees like Judge Shipp and more than a dozen other consensus judicial nominees to fill Federal trial court vacancies in Iowa, California, Utah, Connecticut, Maryland, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. 

There is no good reason the Senate should not vote on the nominations of William Kayatta of Maine to the First Circuit, Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma to the Tenth Circuit, Richard Taranto to the Federal Circuit and for that matter Judge Patty Shwartz of New Jersey to the Third Circuit, who is supported by New Jersey’s Republican Governor. 

While I am pleased that we will confirm Judge Shipp today, I wish that the Senate would confirm the 20 additional judicial nominees pending right now.

Every week lost is another in which injured plaintiffs are having to wait to recover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages from wrongdoing.  Every month is another drag on the economy as small business owners have to wait to have their contract disputes resolved. 

Hardworking and hard-pressed Americans should not have to wait years to have their cases decided.  Just as it is with the economy and with jobs, the American people do not want to hear excuses about why Congress will not help them.  So let us do more to help the American people.

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