Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Judicial Nominations Left Hanging as Senate Recesses
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The U.S. Senate has recessed until after the November elections, without acting on 19 pending judicial nominations, including two in the Central District of California.
Senators left Washington early Saturday, after confirming Gonzalo Curiel to be a district judge for the Southern District of California, and Robert Shelby, nominated to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.
That left 15 district court and four court of appeals nominees without a vote, meaning they will either be voted on in a lame-duck session after the election, or will see their nominations die without a vote when Congress adjourns.
Republicans recently made clear, when they filibustered the nomination of Oklahoman Robert Bacharach for the Tenth Circuit, that they would not allow appellate nominees to go forward before the election. They cited the unwritten “Thurmond Rule,” cutting off consideration of appellate nominees as of an unspecified date prior to an election.
Senators in both parties—notably Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who has been pushing for confirmation of two of President Obama’s nominees from his home state—had expressed hopes that at least some of the pending district court nominees could get through.
Leahy issued a statement yesterday blasting Republicans for only allowing two of the nominations to get through.
“We all know that justice delayed is justice denied. By denying confirmation votes to 15 of these 17 nominations, Senate Republicans are denying justice to the American people,” Leahy said. “By refusing to vote on these 15 nominations, Senate Republicans have declared that they are unconcerned about the millions of Americans who will continue to lack adequate access to our Federal courts and speedy justice.”
Left awaiting Senate action are the Central Jesus G. Bernal of the Federal Public Defender’s Riverside office and Magistrate Judge Fernando M. Olguin, as well as two nominees in the Northern District of California, William H. Orrick III and Jon S. Tigar.
Also appeals court nominees Patty Schwartz for the Third Circuit, Richard Gary Taranto for the Federal Circuit, William J. Kayatta Jr. in the First Circuit, and Bacharach; and district court nominees Michael P. Shea of Connecticut, Paul William Grimm of Maryland, Brian J. Davis and Mark E. Walker of Florida, John E. Dowdell of Oklahoma, Terrence G. Berg of Michigan, Frank Paul Geraci and Lorna G. Schofield of New York, Matthew W. Brann and Malachy Edward Mannion of Pennsylvania, and Thomas M. Durkin of Illinois. District nominees,
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company