03.09.16

Senate Republicans Block Consensus Judicial Nominees Pending On The Floor

Obstruction Of Lower Court Nominees Comes As Republicans Refuse To Give Any Consideration To The Next SCOTUS Nominee

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, March 9, 2016) – Senate Republicans, who are refusing any Senate process for the next Supreme Court nominee, are also blocking lower court judges from being confirmed.  On Tuesday, Republicans denied confirmation votes to long-pending nominees with Republican support.

Republicans on Tuesday denied the confirmation of Waverly Crenshaw, an African-American nominee who would fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the district court for the Middle District of Tennessee.  Crenshaw was unanimously reported by the Judiciary Committee in July and has the support of both Tennessee Senators.  Yet, he has been pending on the floor for eight months. 

Republicans also blocked the confirmation of Paula Xinis, who was nominated nearly one year ago to fill a vacancy on the Federal district court in Maryland.  Her nomination was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee in September, and she has been pending on the floor for nearly six months.

“It is only March, yet it appears that Republican Senators have decided to prevent even consensus lower court nominees from receiving a timely confirmation vote,” Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said.  “There is absolutely no legitimate reason that judicial nominees praised by Republican Senators should be blocked by the Republican leadership.” 

Leahy added:  “While Republicans refuse to even consider the next Supreme Court nominee, I would think they would at least allow consensus lower court nominees to be confirmed.  I hope that Republicans are not listening to the moneyed Washington interest groups over their own constituents.”

A conservative political action committee has called for a wholesale blockade of all judicial nominees for the rest of the year.  Under Republican control, the Senate has confirmed just five judicial nominees this year. 

While Leahy served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee during the last two years of the Bush administration, the Senate confirmed 68 judges.  In the last year of the Bush administration, Senate Democrats confirmed 28 judicial nominees, including 10 in September alone.  In sharp contrast, Senate Republicans have confirmed just 16 of President Obama’s judicial nominees since taking over the majority in 2015.

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