by Caroline Cox
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted hearings for four White House nominees. The committee heard testimony from Dale A. Drozd, to be a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California, Ann Donnelly and LaShann DeArcy Hall, to be United States District Judges for the Eastern District of New York, and Lawrence J. Vilardo, to be a United States District Judge for the Western District of New York.
Massive delays in filling judicial vacancies continue as Senate Republicans refuse to confirm nominees or schedule hearings for nominees. This week, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid harshly criticized Senator Pat Toomey for blocking Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Third Circuit nominee Judge L. Felipe Restrepo. As the blog for People for the American Way reports, Toomey has refused to explain his decision.
Judge Restrepo has already waited 176 days despite universal agreement on his qualifications for the position. Roll Call and the blog for the Alliance for Justice discuss the political machinations that are contributing to this wait.
The Des Moines Register criticized these delays, and argued that these judicial vacancies are making it more difficult for Americans to get their day in court. Senator Chuck Grassley has failed to schedule hearings for qualified candidates such as Restrepo despite judicial vacancies quickly turning into judicial emergencies.
There are currently 55 vacancies, and 24 are now considered judicial emergencies. There are 17 pending nominees. For more information see judicialnominations.org.