Judicial Vacancies

  • July 21, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    In the Huffington Post, Dana Liebelson discusses how the proposed First Amendment Defense Act could undermine anti-discrimination protections for women and LGBT individuals.

    This Wednesday, Neil Siegel, co-faculty advisor for the ACS Student Chapter at Duke Law School, will serve as a witness before a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts entitled “With Prejudice: Supreme Court Activism and Possible Solutions.”

    Stephanie Luce writes at Jacobin that employers’ increasing tendency towards “zero-hours contracts” and irregular work schedules present new concerns for America’s existing labor struggles.  

    In the Denver Post, Timothy Garvey, president of the Colorado Lawyer Chapter, urges Colorado senators to work quickly to fill a “future vacancy” on the U.S. District Court for Colorado to maintain the efficacy and accessibility of the state’s judicial system.      

  • April 24, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    The U.S. Senate made another judicial confirmation on Monday. In a vote of 91-0, the Senate confirmed the nomination of George C. Hanks, Jr. to be a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas. Additionally, in unanimous voice votes, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out two more nominees.  Kara Stoll, nominated to be a United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit, and Roseann A. Ketchmark, to be a United States District Judge for the Western District of Missouri, were both voted out of committee. 

    Overall, the Senate continues to delay on confirming nominees. Republican leadership has refused to accept responsibility for the judicial vacancies. Texas, for example, has ten current vacancies according to the Alliance for Justice. Senate Republicans have done little to alleviate this pressing problem, and have they failed to accept their part in creating judicial emergencies. 

    U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley announced that he will recommend two Iowans for District Court vacancies this week, and it looks as though he will move quickly to move the nominees through the process. The Des Moines Register argues that the senator should apply this same sense of urgency to other nominees.

    Senator Mitch McConnell may be slowing down judicial nominations as means of getting back at Democrats for previous filibuster reforms. But as ACS President Caroline Fredrickson points out in a recent article at Talking Points Memo by Sahil Kapur, these delays may offer an opportunity for progressives to mobilize their base.

    After the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, the Senate now needs to consider Sally Yates to be Deputy Attorney General. Senator Patrick Leahy issued a statement on the nomination and the importance of moving more quickly on judicial nominations.

    There are currently 53 vacancies, and 23 are now considered judicial emergencies. There are 17 pending nominees. For more information see judicialnominations.org.

  • March 13, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    The Senate Judiciary Committee heard two nominees on Wednesday, March 11.  The Committee considered Kara Stoll to be a United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit and Roseann A. Ketchmark to be a United States District Judge for the Western District of Missouri. 

    The Judicial Conference recently released their 2015 recommendations for new judgeships. Among the recommendations, the Conference called for the creation of 5 seats to the 9th Circuit, the addition of 68 new District Court judgeships, and a conversion of 9 temporary judgeships to permanent seats. 

    The change in Senate leadership has also changed opinions on filibuster reform, reports Paul Kane for The Washington Post.

    There are currently 55 vacancies, and 23 are now considered judicial emergencies. There are 16 pending nominees. For more information see judicialnominations.org.

  • March 6, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    The GOP-controlled Senate is still stalling on judicial nominations. Jonathan Bernstein writes at Bloomberg View that this refusal to allow positions to be filled “is an abuse of power.”

    People for the American Way finds that the Senate is moving President Obama’s nominees much slower than the Democrat-controlled Senate moved President Bush’s nominees in the last two years of his presidency.

    Steve Benen writes at MSNBC that Senate Republicans are beginning to consider filibuster reform despite previously embracing the tactic.

    There are currently 53 vacancies, and 21 are now considered judicial emergencies. There are 16 pending nominees. For more information see judicialnominations.org.

  • February 27, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to report four judicial nominees to the Senate floor: Alfred H. Bennett, George C. Hanks, Jr., and Jose Rolando Olvera, Jr., to be U.S. District Judges for the Southern District of Texas, and Jill N. Parrish to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Utah. 

    Also on Thursday, the White House announced the nomination of Mary Barzee Flores and Julien Xavier Neals to serve on the United States District Courts. Flores is nominated to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and Neals is nominated to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

    People for the American Way discuss at their blog the problem with Republican inaction as judicial emergencies increase. Due to delays in identifying recommendations for vacancies and scheduling committee votes, there are now multiple situations in which vacancies have become judicial emergencies.

    There are currently 49 vacancies, and 20 are now considered judicial emergencies. There are 14 pending nominees. For more information see judicialnominations.org.