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Friday, January 5, 2007

Admission by Omission?

In a statement yesterday, Senator Specter discussed the Senate’s success in confirming federal court judges in the last Congress, during which he chaired the Judiciary Committee. He pointed to two Supreme Court justices, sixteen Court of Appeals judges, thirty-five District Court judges, a Court of International Trade judge (and a partridge in a pear tree) who were confirmed.

The major failure of the last Congress, according to Senator Specter, was the Senate’s inability to confirm thirteen district court judges still pending at the end of session -- many of whom were nominated to vacancies deemed judicial emergencies. Senator Specter happily reported that the new committee chair, Senator Leahy, would ensure that they received prompt committee votes following their renominations in the new Congress:

Senator Specter also pointed out the reason these 13 nominees were not confirmed in the prior Congress:
There was no objection raised to them in the last Congress, except they were tied up on a concern raised by one Senator about a nominee for the Western District of Michigan. … All of these qualified men and women were favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee without a single dissenting vote.
Senator Specter didn't specify the Senator he was criticizing for holding up the nominations, but it's no big secret who he's talking about.

Curiously, Senator Specter did not mention the several controversial appeals court nominees pending in committee at the end of the last Congress. Could it be that he acknowledges that they are out of the mainstream and didn't deserve to be confirmed? The senator also “called on the White House to consult with Senator Leahy and Leader Reid during the nomination process.” We hope Bush takes heed of Senator Specter’s advice and submits bipartisan nominees in the 110th Congress. If not, he may be in for some opposition from both sides of the aisle.

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