AFJ Disappointed that 20 Judicial Nominations Are Left Behind as Senate Goes on Summer Vacation
Washington, D.C., August 2, 2011—Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement as the United States Senate adjourned for the summer, confirming only four of the 24 judicial nominations awaiting final votes on the Senate floor:
After dealing with the federal budget deficit, the United States Senate has now adjourned for the summer, apparently willing to leave the federal judge deficit largely unaddressed. Left behind in the scramble to get out of town were 20 judicial nominees awaiting final votes, all but one of whom were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously or with only token opposition. Efforts to have votes before the recess on these noncontroversial nominees were largely stymied by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the unyielding Republican practice of intransigent obstruction.
The sad fact is that there are 111 federal district and circuit court judgeships currently or soon-to-be vacant – that’s one out of seven seats. Astonishingly, those are actually more vacancies than existed at the beginning of this session of Congress, a situation that’s epitomized by the fact that the Republican leadership allowed votes on only 10 nominees to lifetime seats in the last 12 weeks.
Addressing the federal budget deficit is hard, but fixing the federal judge deficit is not. The crisis can be ameliorated by simply giving every nominee sent to the floor a timely vote. The ongoing failure to do so is threatening to send justice itself into default.
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More information on the current judicial nomination crisis can be found here: http://www.afj.org/judicial-selection/
Nan Aron’s commentary about this issue in Huffington Post can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nan-aron/federal-judge-deficit_b_915130.html
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Alliance for Justice is a national association of more than 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. It is the leading expert on the legal framework for nonprofit advocacy efforts, providing definitive information, resources, and technical assistance that encourages organizations and their funding partners to fully exercise their right to be active participants in the democratic process. AFJ is based in Washington, D.C. Additional information can be found at www.afj.org.