This Week on

May 18, 2012

by Samantha Berkovits

The Senate confirmed two district court judges this week: John Tharp Jr. for the Northern District of Illinois by a vote of 86-1, and George Russell III for the District of Maryland by voice vote. President Obama also made four more nominations for the district court vacancies: civil litigator Matthew W. Brann and U.S. Magistrate Judge Malachy Edward Mannion to the Middle District of Pennsylvania; County Court Judge Frank Paul Geraci, Jr. to the Western District of New York; and DOJ civil rights attorney Fernando Olguin to the Central District of California.


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Sens. Sherrod Brown (D- Ohio), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Lautenberg (D-N.J), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.) spoke out against obstruction of federal judicial nominees. Senator Levin, in his floor statement, asked his colleagues “to carefully consider the threat to justice from the growing crisis of delay in our courts” and, in light of the current cases backlogs, reminded them that “justice delayed is justice denied.” Leahy focused his remarks on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. “There are three judicial emergencies in the Ninth Circuit, which is the busiest Circuit Court,” he said, berating his colleagues for dragging their feet on the nomination of Paul Watford, who has strong bipartisan support, to a judicial emergency seat on that court.

Later in the week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved to force a vote on the nomination Watford. This marks the 27th motion to invoke cloture Reid has filed in an attempt to move some of the many obstructed Obama judicial nominees.

The Latest from “In the News

  • “Senate Confirms Two New Judges, as Obama Makes Two Judicial Nominations,”The Blog of Legal Times
  • “Obama nominates Frank Paul Geraci for federal bench in New York,Reuters
  • “Josh Brodesky: Kyl stonewalls judge-in-waiting,” Arizona Daily Star

The Latest from “Recommended Readings”

  • “Maine Voices: Senators need to grease, not spin, wheels of judicial nominations,” The Portland Press Herald
  • “White House Condemns Obstruction of Judicial Nominations,” People For the American Way
  • “Reid: Supporters of Filibuster Reform Were ‘Right,’ ‘The Rest Of Us Were Wrong’,” Think Progress

Congressional Statements

  • Sens. Casey and Toomey on Judicial Nominees to Middle District of PA
  • Sens. Mikulski and Cardin on Confirmation of Judge Russell
  • Sens. Durbin and Kirk on Confirmation of Judge Tharp