This Week on

October 21, 2011

The Senate confirmed four nominees this week. On Monday, it confirmed Cathy Bissoon to the Western District of Pennsylvania by a vote of 82-3. On Wednesday, it confirmed the nominations of Robert Scola, Jr. to the federal district court in the Southern District of Florida and Mark Hornak to the federal district court in the Western District of Pennsylvania by unanimous consent. It also confirmed Robert Mariani to the federal district court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania by a vote of 82-17. Scola and Mariani will fill vacancies that the Administrative Ofice of the U.S. Courts had designated judicial emergencies.

President Obama nominated Paul J. Watford, an appellate litigation partner at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP,to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In his statement on the floor Wednesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) emphasized the slight improvement of the situation, noting that only “three of the 26 judicial nominations reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee” received action today. There are now 23 nominees pending on the Senate floor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held over the nominations of one judge to a circuit court and four judges to district courts. The committee also held a nomination hearing for Susie Morgan to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

When the Senate returns from its recess a week from Monday, they are scheduled to vote upon the nomination of Stephen Higginson to be a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The Latest from “In the News”

  • “Charles Breyer to Take Senior Status, Opening Another Slot on Bench,” from The Recorder
  • “Senate Oks 49th Judicial Nominee; Dozens Await Vote,” from Gavel Grab
  • “Senate panel may vote Thursday on gay judicial nominee,” from Washington Blade

The Latest from Recommended Readings

  • “Here come the judges? Maybe not,” from The Washington Post
  • “Durbin calls for change to filibuster rule,” from Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch
  • “What Happens if Obama Can’t Fill Judicial Vacancies?,” from The American Prospect

Congressional Statements

  • Sen. Leahy on Confirmation of Three Judicial Nominees
  • Sen. Toomey on Confirmation of Cathy Bissoon
  • Sen. Leahy on Judicial Nominations