09.26.08

Senate Confirms Ten Lifetime Judicial Appointments Democrats Confirm More Bush Nominees Than Republican Majority

The Senate Democratic majority reached a milestone today when the Senate confirmed 10 nominations for lifetime appointments to the Federal bench in Utah, California, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Kansas, and Pennsylvania.  Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy expedited the consideration of the nominations.  The Democratic majority has now confirmed 168 Bush nominees – more judicial nominations than a Republican Senate majority confirmed in more than four years during the Bush administration.

Consideration of judicial nominations traditionally slows in the months leading up to a presidential election.  In the last three weeks, however, Leahy has chaired two nominations hearings for 10 judicial nominations.  The Judiciary Committee reported the nominations at an executive business meeting Thursday.  In addition to the 68 judicial nominations confirmed during the 110thCongress, 32 nominations for positions at the Department of Justice, including the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and Associate Attorney General, have been confirmed.  On June 9, Leahy chaired a hearing to consider the nomination of Greg Garre to be Solicitor General of the United States, a high level position in the Department of Justice.  The nomination is pending on the Senate’s executive calendar.

“The American people are best served by a Federal judiciary they can trust to apply the law fairly regardless of who walks into the courtroom,” said Leahy.  “I have continued deep into this presidential election year to hold hearings and take action on both executive and judicial nominees.  Despite lack of cooperation from Republican Senators on important legislative matters, Democrats have worked hard to confirm President Bush’s judicial nominations.” 

Under Leahy’s chairmanship, judicial vacancies across the country have been cut in half, and are at the lowest number in years.  Judicial vacancies have fallen from 9.9 percent at the start of the Bush administration to just 3.9 percent today.  The Administrative Office of the Courts listed 64 vacancies on September 26, 2000, including 22 circuit vacancies.  Judicial vacancies rose to over 100 at the start of the Bush administration.  Today there are just 34 judicial vacancies, and only 11 circuit vacancies. 

Nominations confirmed by the Senate Friday include:  Clark Waddoups for the District of Utah, Michael Anello for the Southern District of California, Mary Stenson Scriven for the Middle District of Florida, Christine Arguello for the District of Colorado, Philip Brimmer for the District of Colorado, Anthony Trenga for the Eastern District of Virginia, C. Darnell Jones for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Mitchell Goldberg for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Joel Slomsky for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Eric Melgren for the District of Kansas. 

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