12.21.10

Senate Confirms Two District Court Nominations

Nominations Waited Since February And April For Consideration

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010) – After months of delay, the Senate Tuesday confirmed two nominations to the federal district courts.   The Senate confirmed the nomination of Benita Pearson to the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the nomination of William J. Martinez to fill a judicial emergency for the District Court of Colorado.

Pearson’s nomination was reported by the Judiciary Committee in February, and Martinez’s nomination was reported by the Committee in April.  Senate Democrats had sought time agreements to consider the nominations, but Republicans did not consent until Sunday, when an agreement was reached to schedule votes on the long-stalled nominations.

“The obstruction of these district court nominations is unprecedented, a sign that a different standard is being applied to President Obama’s nominees that has never before been applied to the nominees of any President, Democratic or Republican,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  “It is time for the Senate to act on the dozens of judicial nominees that have been kept from final consideration before we adjourn.  A number of those nominations were reported unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

There remain 24 judicial nominations pending before the full Senate awaiting final votes.  Eighteen of the nominations were reported by the Judiciary Committee with unanimous support.  Two additional nominations received the support from a majority of Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee.  Of the 24 nominations pending, 14 of them are to fill vacancies designated as judicial emergencies by the nonpartisan Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

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Summary of Judicial Nominations as of December 21, 2010

As of December 21, 2010, just 55 circuit and district court nominations were confirmed by the Senate in the 111th Congress.  During the first Congress of the Bush administration, the Senate, controlled by the Democrats, proceeded to confirm 100 judicial nominations.  Every nomination pending on the Senate’s Executive Calendar received an up-or-down vote by the Senate before Congress adjourned.

As of December 21, 2010, there were a total of 24 Article III judicial nominations pending on the Senate’s executive calendar, including six circuit nominations and 18 district court nominations.  Eight of these 24 nominations are supported by Republican home state Senators.

Of the 24 nominations pending on the Senate Floor, 18 received unanimous support from the 19 Democratic and Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee.  Another two nominations were reported with the support of a majority of Judiciary Committee Republicans.

Of the 24 nominations pending, 14 nominations are to fill seats designated as judicial emergencies by the nonpartisan Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Of the 15 nominations reported by the Judiciary Committee in the lame-duck session, 13 received unanimous support from the Committee; the remaining two received the support of a majority of Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee.  Of these 15 nominations, 10 are nominated to fill seats designated as judicial emergencies.

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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693