Gavel Grab

ABA President Prods Congress, Obama on Filling Judgeships

It’s past time for Congress and the president to collaborate, compromise and fill vacancies on the federal bench that are causing harm to the justice system, the economy and also to judicial nominees, American Bar Association President Laurel Bellows (photo) writes in a blog for The Hill newspaper. She makes these recommendations:

  • For the parties to collaborate and set up-or-down votes on judicial nominees whom the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved unanimously, or with scant opposition;
  • For fast-tracking action on 11 nominees left stranded when the 112th Congress adjourned;
  • For Senate leaders to give higher priority to filling those 37 vacancies that have been deemed “judicial emergencies” and to reduce the long wait between nomination and votes;
  • For President Obama to nominate a candidate for each open judicial seat. There are 86 vacant judgeships.

In other news related to judicial nominations, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blog reported about the state’s U.S. senators, “Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin reach deal on nominating federal judges.” Meanwhile a press release from the office of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, was headlined, “Durbin Announces Bipartisan Screening Committee to Consider Applications for Federal Judiciary in the Southern District.”

You can learn more from a Justice at Stake issues page about the American Bar Association’s advocacy of bipartisan screening commissions as a way to cool bipartisan tempers in the Senate.

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