Four More Nominees Cleared by Judiciary Committee, Obama Nominates Two More

February 17, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved four more judicial nominees today, including U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit nominee Susan Carney, a lawyer for Yale University who has also worked as a lawyer for the Peace Corps and at several law firms in Washington.

The district court nominees reported to the Senate floor were Sue E. Myerscough and James E. Shadid, both for the Central District of Illinois, and Michael H. Simon, for the District of Oregon.

There are now 10 nominees awaiting a full vote by the Senate. In a letter to Senate leaders, a range of environmental, labor, civil rights and good government groups, including the American Constitution Society, urged the Senate to continue holding floor votes on nominees "shortly after they have been reported out of committee," cautioning that further obstruction of nominations "would further poison the political atmosphere." The Senate has confirmed five nominees this term.

There are 101 vacant seats subject to Senate confirmation on the federal courts. In 2011, federal judges are now retiring at a rate of one per week, The Washington Post reported in a recent front-page story noting that federal judicial vacancies have reached a "crisis point."

Yesterday, President Obama nominated two judges to seats on federal district courts. Family court Judge Timothy M. Cain was nominated to a seat in the District of South Carolina and Magistrate Judge Scott W. Skavdahl to a seat in the District of Wyoming.

To learn more about the judicial vacancy crisis and follow developments, visit