This Week on

October 7, 2011

The Senate started off this week by confirming six judicial nominees who were part of a recent judicial nominations agreement. A vote on another nominee in the agreement, Jane Margaret Triche-Milazzo, has been scheduled for Tuesday.

The reaction to the Senate’s action has been mixed, with commentators and legal leaders calling the confirmation votes a necessary, but minimal step.

“The principle of an independent judiciary remainsvery much in jeopardy in Washington,” writes John Diaz in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Senate Republicans continue to stall Obama's appointments, even in the absence of a substantive reason.”

In Texas, a group of legal experts applauded the confirmation of one nominee to a seat in their state, but emphasized that the Senate has to increase its pace to address the judicial emergencies in Texas and a number of other states.

 “We are going to fall further and further behind, and that is damaging to the judiciary,” said Chris Elliott, chair of the American Constitution Society’s Austin Chapter.

Also this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved another five nominees and sent them to the Senate floor for a vote. And President Obama nominated U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Third Circuit.

The Latest from “In the News”

  • “Nonpartisan Legal Experts Urge Senate to Approve Obama’s Texas Judicial Nominees,” from The Houston Chronicle
  •  “Senate Approves Replacement for Judge Slain at Giffords Shooting,” from CNN
  • “Gay Nominee Politely Labeled an ‘Activist’ by the GOP,” from Keen News Service

  • “More Women Judges on the Bench Needed, Says Advocate Greenberger,” from The Blog of Legal Times
  • “The Other Federal Crisis,” from The Miami Herald
  • “Sen. Johnson Defends Hold-up of 7th Circuit Nominee,” from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Congressional Statements

  • Sen. Leahy on the Judicial Vacancy Crisis
  • Rep. Doggett on Judicial Nominations
  • Sen. Landrieu on Confirmation of Jolivette Brown