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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thirty Nominees Awaiting Final Senate Votes

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee voted five judicial nominees out of committee, moving them forward to the full Senate for confirmation, bringing the total number of nominees awaiting floor votes to 30.  

Adalberto José Jordán, nominee to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit, and three United States District Court nominees: Mary Elizabeth Phillips to the Western District of Missouri, Thomas Owen Rice to the Eastern District of Washington, and David Nuffer to the  District of Utah were reported out on a unanimous, en banc voice vote. John M. Gerrard to the District of Nebraska, was reported out on a bipartisan voice vote, with only one senator voting no.

Both Jordán and Nuffer have been appointed to fill vacancies designated as “judicial emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Currently there are 32 judicial emergency vacancies, with 20 persons nominated to fill the seats. 

Responding to the strain being placed on our justice system by the lack of judges in the courts, the Committee also reported out S.1014, the Emergency Judicial Relief Act on a vote of 15-3, with Senators Grassley (R-IA), Sessions (R-AL), and Coburn (R-OK) voting no. The bill would establish ten new judgeships in parts of the country where courts are overloaded because the bench is woefully understaffed.

Holding swift votes on the 30 nominees pending on the Senate floor, all but 1 of whom came out of Committee with little or token opposition, is one way the Senate can take direct, immediate action to ease the burden on our judiciary and ensure that the American people have access to justice.

For the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on judicial nominations, see the Alliance for Justice’s Judicial Selection Project webpage.

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