Archive for the 'Judicial Nominations' Category
Appointing federal judges can be one of a president’s longest-lasting legacies. With that issue in mind, Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network slams New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his state judicial appointments, especially the recent reappointment of Supreme Court Justice Stuart Rabner (see Gavel Grab).
In a scorching Fox News commentary, Severino writes of the Republican governor’s Supreme Court appointments, “After five years as governor and four appointments, Christie still can’t seem to tell a judicial home run from a strikeout.” She calls Justice Rabner “an unapologetic liberal activist” and “ringleader of an activist circus” on the state’s highest court. Read moreNo comments
President Obama’s increased rate of confirmed judicial nominees shows that the Democratic Party knows the heightened importance of the federal judiciary, according to an article in The Daily Beast.
“Federal appellate and district courts are enormously important in our legal system. More than 99 percent of federal cases are never decided by the Supreme Court and are resolved at the final stage by these other federal courts. The conventional wisdom in Washington is that these courts might be important, but Democratic presidents cannot get their nominees confirmed to these courts,” the article states.No comments
Although the Senate recently has confirmed dozens of judicial nominees (see Gavel Grab), the vacancies that remain include 38 for which there are no nominees, Huffington Post reports. The blames goes to home-state senators who aren’t recommending candidates to the White House, Jennifer Bendery writes.
“The concentration of vacancies without nominees in certain states clearly shows that some senators are refusing to perform their constitutional duty at the expense of our courts and the citizens trying to access them,” said Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society.
Twenty-one of the 38 vacancies are found in states with two Republican senators, 12 are located in states represented by a single Republican senator. The remaining four are in states represented by two Democrats in the Senate. Read moreNo comments
In the shadow of another federal court nomination controversy, progressives in Pennsylvania apparently have torpedoed a possible package-deal court nomination for corporate lawyer David Porter, a Republican.
That’s the gist of a Huffington Post report suggesting that a big grass-roots effort mounted to oppose a nomination of Porter has succeeded. The article says Porter helped launch a coalition to fight the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor and is head of the Federalist Society’s Pittsburgh Lawyers Chapter.
Michael Morrill, executive director of Keystone Progress, which opposed a potential nomination of Porter, said negotiations between the White House and Pennsylvania’s senators were influenced by controversy that has flared over the package-deal judicial nomination of Michael Boggs. A Georgia state judge, he is opposed by numerous progressives who more frequently side with President Obama, and his nomination appears to be in trouble.No comments
As home-state U.S. senators apparently step up their use of the “blue-slip” process to fight some of President Obama’s judicial nominees, an overwhelming majority of the judicial vacancies for which there is no nominee now exists in states with at least one Republican senator.
This trend was identified by a NPR report, based on data compiled by Russell Wheeler of The Brookings Institution. “Almost 90 percent of all the judicial vacancies still awaiting nominees are now in states with at least one Republican senator,” NPR said.
Under the Senate “blue-slip” tradition, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy requires consent from both senators in the state where a judicial nominee will sit before the committee agrees to hold a confirmation hearing. The tradition effectively “gives virtual veto power over judicial nominations to home state senators,” according to NPR. The tradition Read moreNo comments
With eight U.S. district court judgeships vacant in Texas and two more vacancies coming, the ability of sitting federal judges to fulfill their constitutional responsibility is threatened and at “a crisis point,” retired U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson writes in an Austin American-Statesman op-ed.
There are a total of 52 trial court judgeships in the state. Sitting judges are working at a 120 percent capacity to handle their own heavy loads and those of others. With a potential vacancy rate of one out of every five judgeships, the courts are crippled, Judge Furgeson suggests:
“Imagine if the Dallas Mavericks or the San Antonio Spurs or the Houston Rockets played their games with only four players on the court. Things wouldn’t go well. Neither will things go well in our federal courts if these vacancies persist.” Read more
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent decision to reappoint state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner (see Gavel Grab) is playing to mixed reviews.
Numerous defenders of impartial courts had warned Christie earlier that if Chief Justice Rabner was not reappointed, thereby granting him tenure, it would damage judicial independence. The Times of Trenton applauded Christie’s decision in an editorial: Read moreNo comments
Ensuring fair and impartial courts is a hot topic in New Jersey, even after Gov. Chris Christie defused the possibility of one crisis by reappointing state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner (see Gavel Grab).
Unlike Justice Rabner, a (Newark) Star-Ledger editorial says, “More than 180 trial judges don’t have tenure and remain threatened,” and state judges are “understandably rattled” since Christie refused for the first time in state history to reappoint two other Supreme Court justices.
The editorial, entitled “Shield all NJ judges from political retribution,” endorses the idea of a constitutional amendment saying that only in instances of judicial incompetence can governors remove judges from the bench. Read moreNo comments
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has successfully stepped up the pace for Senate confirmation of judicial nominees. Due to these efforts and a rules change last year, the number of judicial vacancies has declined significantly.
There are 67 judicial vacancies, compared to 94 at the beginning of last November, before the Senate changed its rules to eliminate the filibuster as a procedural tool that could be used to block most judicial nominees. Between April 28 and May 22, the Senate confirmed 22 judicial nominees, according to The Hill newspaper.
The confirmations are permitting President Obama to expand his imprint on the federal courts. When he took office, judges appointed by Republican presidents comprised a majority of 10 of the nation’s 13 circuit courts. Today, by contrast, judges selected by Democratic presidents make up a majority of nine circuit courts. Read moreNo comments
The Senate voted 53-45 on Thursday to confirm David J. Barron, a Harvard law professor and former Justice Department official, to sit on the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
When he worked at the Justice Department, Barron wrote a legal justification for the killing of an American citizen overseas with a drone strike. Controversy over his nomination became a proxy fight over such drone attacks, the Associated Press said, and Barron also was opposed by some Senate Republicans who considered him too far left-leaning.No comments