12.18.10

Senate Unanimously Confirms Long-Pending Circuit Court Nomination, Three District Nominees

WASHINGTON (Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010) – During a rare Saturday session, the Senate unanimously confirmed two, long-pending federal judicial nominations.  Among the nominations confirmed was that of Judge Albert Diaz to fill a vacancy on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously reported his nomination 11 months ago.

Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been pressing for months for the Senate to consider pending nominations. 

“Thirty federal circuit and district court nominations favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee remain ready for final vote,” said Leahy.  “These include 21 nominations reported unanimously and another three reported with strong bipartisan support and only a small number of no votes.  These nominations should have been confirmed within days of being reported.  With judicial vacancies at historic highs, we should act on these nominations.”

On Saturday, the Senate also confirmed Ellen Hollander to serve on the District Court for the District of Maryland.  Hollander’s nomination was reported unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee in June.  On Friday night, the Senate unanimously confirmed two additional district court nominations: Susan Nelson, nominated to serve on the District Court for the District of Minnesota, and Denise Casper, nominated to serve on the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  Nelson’s nomination was reported unanimously by the Judiciary Committee in June; Casper’s nomination was reported unanimously by the Judiciary Committee in August.

The Senate this Congress has confirmed just 49 circuit and district court nominations, less than half the number confirmed during the first Congress of the Bush administration.  There are 30 judicial nominations remaining on the Senate’s executive calendar, including seven circuit court nominations.  A majority of the nominations pending on the Senate’s calendar received unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 17 of the nominations are to fill seats designated as judicial emergencies by the nonpartisan Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

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