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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Senate Confirms 2 District Court Judges, Dozens of Nominees Still Await Votes

Today the Senate confirmed Paul Engelmayer to the Southern District of New York on a vote of 98-0, and Ramona Manglona to a 10-year term on the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands on a voice vote. Both nominations were reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without opposition nearly four months ago.

There are now 25 judicial nominees pending before the Senate, 23 of whom were reported out of committee either without opposition or with strong bipartisan support. Despite this backlog of nominees, the Senate has only confirmed 5 judges to lifetime seats in the last 10 weeks. There has been little action despite the fact that 13 of these nominees would fill seats considered to be judicial emergencies by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

As Senator Leahy said before today's votes,

[T]hese needless delays perpetuate the judicial vacancies crisis that Chief Justice Roberts wrote of last December and that the President, Attorney General, bar associations and chief judges around the country have urged us to join together to end. The Senate can do a better job working to ensure the ability of our Federal courts to provide justice to Americans around the country.
There are now 114 current and future vacancies in the federal courts, the same amount as there were at the beginning of the year.

The American people are growing weary of the behavior of the increasingly dysfunctional Senate and are hungry for constructive bipartisan action. The judicial system is in crisis and is paying the price for endless political gamesmanship. There is no legitimate reason for preventing final votes on all pending judicial nominees before the Senate goes out on recess in August.

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