Renewed Pressure to Lift Blockade, and a Historic Judicial Nominee

GARLAND NOMINATION: Senate Democrats and supporters of Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland took their efforts to step up pressure for his confirmation to the sidewalk outside the nation’s highest highest court today. Yet Senate Republicans weren’t yielding any ground in refusing to act.

We Need Nine, a group allied with the White House, held a news conference outside the court with former Garland law clerks and Democratic senators. “Republicans have deadlocked our entire system of justice because of the Republican Senate’s dysfunction,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said in advance of the event, according to ReutersNPR reported about the nominee’s record wait, “170-Plus Days And Counting: GOP Unlikely To End Supreme Court Blockade Soon,” and a Huffington Post headline said, “Harry Reid Vows To Jam Up Committee Meetings Until GOP Moves On Supreme Court Vacancy.”

OTHER NOMINATIONS: Will some other judicial nominees advance? The Senate Judiciary Committee was to consider nominees for five district court judgeships in case-backlogged Texas today, as reported by The Texas Tribune. To learn more about what’s going on in Texas, see this Alliance for Justice web page: John Cornyn and Ted Cruz’s Texas: a State of Judicial Emergency.

And on Thursday, the committee is scheduled to vote during a business meeting on three district court nominees. The American Bar Association, meanwhile, issued a statement by president Linda Klein saying the number of judicial vacancies has almost doubled over the course of this Congress to 89 and urging action to promptly schedule floor votes on 20 district court nominees now pending on the Senate calendar.

HISTORIC FIRST: According to The Washington Examiner and other news media, President Obama nominated Latham & Watkins law partner Abid Riaz Qureshi to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday, and Qureshi is the first Muslim American nominated for the federal bench. “I commend President Obama for taking this important step in continuing to pick the best and brightest from every community to serve as part of our nation’s judiciary,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates.