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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First order of business

Now that the people have voted, it's time for our senators to do the same. And the first order of business when they return today for the lame duck session should be to address the serious vacancy crisis in our courts.

There are 19 pending nominees that have waited an average of 236 days for final confirmation votes. Over half of these nominees would fill judicial emergencies.
  • Judge Patty Schwartz of New Jersey has been waiting over 400 days
  • Judge Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma has been waiting over 290 days
  • Judge Brian Davis of Florida has been waiting over 250 days.
Most of these nominess are noncontroversial - the Senate could approve them in minutes. But the longer the Senate fails to act on these nominees, the longer everyday Americans, from New Jersey to Oklahoma to Florida, are left to deal with a vacancy crisis in our courts.

When there are too few judges, the wait for justice can be unbearable. Forcing people to wait months, even years to stand up for their rights in court can do profound harm. Medical bills caused by injuries due to negligence may pile up while families wait for justice; parties may be forced to travel long distances as cases are shifted to districts with more judges; memories may fade, witnesses may die.

It’s time for the Senate to put politics aside and vote on all pending nominees. Send a message to your senators today!

Read more about the "judicial cliff" in AFJ President Nan Aron's blog at The Huffington Post

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