Albert Diaz

  • October 1, 2010
    President Obama revisited the Senate's stonewalling of his judicial nominations in a letter to senate leaders noting that "judicial confirmation rates in this Congress have reached an all-time low."

    As noted yesterday in an ACSblog guest post by Glenn Sugameli, senators left town yesterday without confirming one nominee, and that now the situation is only likely to worsen. In his letter, Obama noted that the Senate recessed "without confirming a single one of the 23 Federal judicial nominations pending on the Executive Calendar."

    Obama wrote:

    At this time in the prior Administration (107 th Congress), the Senate had confirmed 61% of the President's judicial nominations. By contrast, the Senate has confirmed less than half of the judicial nominations it has received in my Administration. Nominees in the 107 th Congress waited less than a month on the floor of the senate before a vote on their confirmation. The men and women whom I have nominated who have been confirmed to the Court of Appeals waited five times longer and those confirmed to the District Courts waited three times longer for final votes.

    And the drawn-out confirmation process is producing rising vacancies on the federal bench placing the nation's "judiciary on a dangerous course, as the Department of Justice projects that fully half of the Federal judiciary will be vacant by 2020 if we continue on the current pace of judicial confirmations," the president wrote.

    He continued:

    The real harm of this political game-playing falls on the American people, who turn to the courts for justice. By denying these nominations a simple up-or-down vote, the Republican leadership is undermining the ability of our courts to deliver justice those in need.

    As he did during a recent speech before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Obama highlighted his selection of Judge Albert Diaz to the U.S. Court of Apples for the Fourth Circuit. Although the Senate judiciary committee has approved the nomination of Diaz, he has "waited 245 days for an up-or-down vote - more than 8 months," the president wrote.

    The president's entire letter is available here. Justices Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Attorney General Eric Holder, and a group of former federal court judges have also joined in urging the Senate to stop holding up judicial nominations.

    To keep track of the vacancies on the federal bench and the status of the president's nominations, visit the ACS web-based project JudicialNominations.org and get updates from Facebook.

  • September 24, 2010

    Beyond addressing his administration's efforts to revive the economy during the Great Recession, and the need to pass "comprehensive immigration reform," President Obama, speaking at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute event, touched upon the ongoing obstruction in the Senate of his judicial nominations.

    The president, in the context of immigration reform and other issues, noted that "we must break the Republican leadership's blockade." He continued, "Their leadership has made reaching 60 votes the norm for nearly everything the Senate has to do. The American people's business is on hold, because, simply put, the other party's platform has been ‘no.'"

    "For example," he said, "consider the public servants I've nominated to carry out the peoples' business. Most of them have been supported widely and approved unanimously by senate committees. But they've been held up for months by the Republican leadership. We can't even get an up or down vote on their confirmation."

    The president continued:

    Right now there are 21 judges who've been held up for months, while their courts have sat empty. Three of them are outstanding Latinos, like Judge Albert Diaz, who I nominated to the Fourth circuit court. He's been waiting for ten months. This is a widely respected state court judge, military judge, and Marine Corps attorney. He was approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee. But just last month, the Senate Republican leader objected to a vote on his confirmation yet again. And when he was asked why, he basically admitted it was simply partisan payback. Partisan payback. We can't afford that kind of game playing right now. We need serious leaders for serious times. That's the kind leadership this moment demands. That is what we need right now.

    Watch video of Obama's remarks by clicking here or the picture. The president's comments about his judicial nominations start around the 14:08 mark. For more information on judicial nominations and vacancies visit the ACS web-based project JudicialNominations.org.

  • November 4, 2009

    This morning, President Obama announced two more nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. North Carolina Judges Albert Diaz and James Wynn join Andre Davis, nominated April 29, 2009, and Barbara Keenan, nominated October 7 2009, in awaiting confirmation to the 15-judge circuit. Their confirmations would make a substantial dent in Fourth Circuit's the five vacancies.

    Judge Diaz, 48, currently serves as a Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases in Charlotte. He previously practiced commerical litigation after having served as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and ultimately Chief Review Officer in the Marine Corps for 25 years. Diaz would become the historically conservative court's first Latino judge.