by Caroline Cox
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a voice vote to report out of committee four judicial nominees. Dale A. Drozd, nominee for United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California, Lawrence J. Vilardo, nominee for United States District Judge for the Western District of New York, and Ann Donnelly and LaShann DeArcy Hall, nominees for United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, were all voted out of committee.
As the blog for the Alliance for Justice explains, these four district court nominees are nominated to “some of the most overburdened courts in the country.” Whether Senator Mitch McConnell will allow the Senate to confirm these qualified nominees is still unclear. But with three of the four nominees slated to fill designated “judicial emergencies,” there is added pressure for the Senate to consider them quickly.
Despite this important and positive move for judicial nominations, many other areas of the country still have longstanding judicial emergencies. Texas courts, in particular, are severely overburdened due to the large number of judicial vacancies. The blog for the Alliance for Justice takes a look at the situation in Texas, arguing that “the Senate’s Republican majority in 2015 has so far fallen short of its constitutional duty to confirm judicial nominees.” As the blog for People for the American Way argues, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are largely responsible for the “dire straits” of the federal court system in Texas.
There are currently 56 vacancies, and 24 are now considered judicial emergencies. There are 17 pending nominees. For more information see judicialnominations.org.