SJC Approves Six Judicial Nominees To Fill Emergency Vacancies

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved six nominees to fill judicial emergencies in Arizona, including one nominee who is poised to become the first Native American woman to serve on the federal bench.

All six nominees, who have the support of their home state Senators, appeared before the Judiciary Committee in January. Diane Humetewa, once confirmed, will become the nation’s only currently serving Native American judge and the first Native American woman to serve in the judiciary. Rosemary Marquez, the longest-pending nominee in the Judiciary Committee who was first nominated in June 2011, was also approved on Thursday.

“Federal district court judges handle the vast majority of the caseload of the Federal courts and are critical to making sure our courts remain available to provide a fair hearing for all Americans,” Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said.  “I expect that this diverse group of judicial nominees will be confirmed now that they have been reported out of Committee and have the support of their home state Senators.  The progress we made today in the committee to move these nominations forward would not have occurred without the support of Senator McCain and Senator Flake. I thank them for their support today and I hope the Senate quickly confirms these nominees who are urgently needed in the state of Arizona.”

The Committee’s action today comes as more than 90 judicial vacancies throughout the country prevent the courts from operating at full strength. Leahy, in a floor statement this week, urged Senators to work together to approve qualified nominees. Following today’s committee action there are now 35 judicial nominees pending on the floor who the Republican leadership is holding up from getting a confirmation vote.

The Committee also unanimously approved the STOP Identity Theft Act, a bipartisan bill that aims to protect Americans who are filing tax returns from identity theft.

Results and a webcast of Thursday’s executive business meeting can be found online

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