Two More Lifetime Judicial Appointments ConfirmedTwo More Lifetime Judicial Appointments Confirmed

The Senate Thursday confirmed two nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal bench, bringing the total number of judicial nominations confirmed this Congress to 56.  Two additional nominations remain pending on the Senate’s executive calendar, and confirmation votes on those nominations could occur as early as next week.


The Senate confirmed the nominations of Paul Gardephe and Kiyo Matsumoto for district court seats in New York.  Under the Democratic leadership in the Senate, the pace of confirmations of President Bush’s judicial nominations has been faster than under the Republican majority in the previous Congress when Senator Specter chaired the Judiciary Committee.  The Senate has confirmed more judicial nominees in the 110th Congress under Democratic leadership than were confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate in the 109th Congress.  To date, the Democratic majority has confirmed 156 of President Bush’s judicial nominations in the three years that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has chaired the Judiciary Committee. 


Senate Democrats have also moved forward to cut judicial vacancies during the Bush administration.  Under the Republican-controlled Senate during the latter years of the Clinton administration, judicial vacancies doubled.  During the Bush administration, judicial vacancies have been cut from a high of 110 to approximately 40.  Circuit court vacancies have been cut even more drastically, with 32 vacancies cut to just 10 nationwide for all 13 Federal circuits, a reduction of more than two-thirds.


“Our progress today in confirming two more nominations for lifetime appointments shows that when the President works with home state Senators to identify consensus, well-qualified nominees, we can make progress, even this late in an election year,” said Leahy.


Still pending on the Senate’s executive calendar are New York nominees Glenn Suddaby and Cathy Siebel. 


Judicial vacancies have fallen from 9.9 percent at the start of the Bush administration to just 4.7 percent today.  The Administrative Office of the Courts listed 61 vacancies on July 14, 2000, including 20 circuit vacancies, while today there are just 41 judicial vacancies, and only 10 circuit vacancies.  It is the first time in more than a decade that circuit vacancies have been reduced to single digits.   


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