Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Republican Opposition To Judicial Confirmation Hearing On Consensus Nominees

[On Wednesday, Senate Republicans invoked procedural tactics to prevent the Judiciary Committee from convening a confirmation hearing for five district court nominees. The hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.]

“The Republican shutdown of the Judiciary Committee is consistent with the obstruction we have witnessed over the last five years, which has led to record high vacancies in federal courts throughout the country.  Home state Senators were consulted with respect to the nominees scheduled to appear before the Committee today who, when confirmed, will fill vacancies in California, Maine and Maryland, and an emergency vacancy in Kansas. The families of these nominees invested time and personal expense to travel to Washington for this hearing, losses they will never recover.  This escalating obstruction undermines the Senate’s constitutional responsibility of advice and consent.

“Just last week, Republicans prevented the Judiciary Committee from holding an executive business meeting to consider 18 highly qualified nominees, including two Texas U.S. Marshals.  Those two nominees should have been approved by the Committee last month, but Republicans failed to attend the meeting to report their nominations. As Chairman of the Judiciary Com­mittee, I have consistently shown my commitment to work with all Senators to process nominations. This obstruction sets back the bipartisan cooperation we have seen in recent weeks on such legislative matters as the budget, the defense authorization bill, and the Farm Bill. If this obstruction continues with respect to judicial nominees, I will be forced to reconsider long-held policies that have upheld the rights of the minority party in this process.”

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