AFJ Applauds Diversity Milestone; Ginsburg Looks for ‘Cooler Heads’


AFJ LEADER ON QURESHI NOMINATION: President Obama’s nomination of Washington attorney Abid Qureshi for a federal judgeship marks a milestone when it comes to the Obama administration’s record for expanding judicial diversity, The Christian Science Monitor quoted Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron as saying.

“The President has always made diversity a centerpiece of his judicial selection,” Aron added. Qureshi, if confirmed, would become the first Muslim American nominated for a federal judgeship. His confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia “could be a long shot,” the newspaper said, given its timing late in the year and the fact that Senate Republicans “have stopped confirming [Obama’s] judicial picks.”

According to The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced support for holding votes on “a bipartisan package of four” nominees from California, Pennsylvania and Utah. But Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., protested, saying the proposal would pass by two long-waiting district court nominees who also are “the only two African Americans on the list of the next 15 – that to me is unacceptable.”

GINSBURG SPEAKS OUT: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a law school audience about the Senate’s inaction on high court nominee Judge Merrick Garland, “I do think cooler heads will prevail, I hope sooner rather than later,” according to The Washington Post. “The president is elected for four years not three years, so the power he has in year three continues into year four,” she said. Meanwhile Vice President Joe Biden will lead a new push for a Senate vote on Garland, The New York Times said, and he was to speak at a Capitol Hill news conference today.

ACCESS TO JUSTICE AN ISSUE IN TPP: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Ma., “opened a new broadside on Wednesday against the White House’s signature Pacific trade pact,” according to Agence France-Presse, specifically objecting to what AFP described as the “so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism to resolve corporate grievances.” AFJ opposes forced alternative methods of dispute resolution including this provision.

ALABAMA JUDICIAL SELECTION CHALLENGED: The Associated Press reported, “A civil rights group challenged Alabama’s practice of electing appellate judges by statewide vote on Wednesday, saying the result is all-white courts in a state where one in four people is African-American.” A similar lawsuit, on behalf of Latino voters, was lodged in Texas earlier this summer.