Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations

Today we will finally vote on the confirmation of Jill Pryor of Georgia to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Her nomination has been pending in the Senate since February 2012—more than two and a half years, which is longer than any other currently pending judicial nominee. She received the American Bar Association’s highest rating of unanimously well qualified and has the support of both of her Republican home state Senators—Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson. Rather than vote to confirm her before the August recess, some Senate Republicans continued their senseless obstruction to keep the Senate from fulfilling its constitutional duty of advice and consent by filibustering her nomination for the sake of delay.

Despite this unyielding partisan strategy, the Senate has made great strides to fill vacancies on courts around the Nation.  This year the Senate has confirmed 61 nominees to the circuit and district courts and in doing so, it has hit an historic milestone for diversity on the Federal appeals courts.  More women and people of color are serving on the federal appellate bench than ever before.  Today I am happy that we will add to this laudable record with yet another well-qualified nominee. 

From the outset, President Obama has understood that our Federal courts should reflect the diverse communities that it serves.  He has nominated more women and more lawyers of color than any previous President in American history.  Since the first day of the Obama administration, former Senate staffer Christopher Kang has worked with home state Senators to implement President Obama’s goal of finding judicial nominees who not only embody the necessary integrity, intellect, and commitment to the rule of law, but who are also drawn from diverse backgrounds.  I urge my fellow senators to vote to confirm Jill Pryor of Georgia and to agree to votes on the remaining district court judges on the calendar without delay.        

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