In the News: How Long Will Logjam on Judicial Nominations Persist?

MERRICK GARLAND NOMINATION: Will the Senate Republican blockade of Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court be lifted in the lame-duck session if Hillary Clinton wins the White House? Not likely, a Washington Post article suggested in reporting on remarks by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a debate this week.

“Mike Lee explains why the GOP will block Garland even if Clinton wins,” the Post’s headline declared. And there was more discussion of possible GOP “hardball” tactics on Clinton court nominees from Cameron Smith in an AL.com commentary; a Republican-led Senate could refuse outright to confirm a Clinton nominee it cannot stomach, he wrote, and Congress could consider reducing the size of the Supreme Court to seven justices.

‘UNPRECEDENTED AND DANGEROUS’ LOGJAM: In The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call, a column by Elizabeth B. Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, deplored not only the logjam on Garland’s nomination but also on the nominations of judges for dozens of lower federal court seats. She blasted the logjam as “unprecedented and dangerous” and said, “These judicial vacancies aren’t just a set of numbers. They affect the lives of every man, woman and child in this country who relies on the courts for timely justice on issues, including civil rights, voting rights, clean air and water, and corporate responsibility, not to mention civil and criminal rights.”

AFJ IN THE NEWS: Our sister organization, Alliance for Justice, was mentioned in a Quartz article that’s headlined, “The cost of electronic access to US court filings is facing a major legal test of its own.”

The article updated readers on the status of a lawsuit by AFJ, the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the National Consumer Law Center accusing  the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts of illegally charging excessive fees to access court records through its online Public Access to Court Electronic Records system (PACER). Quartz reported, “As it happens, the paywall that surrounds Pacer is facing what may be its most serious test since the service emerged 28 years ago. Judge Ellen Huvelle of the US district court in Washington DC is expected to decide in the coming days whether a lawsuit accusing the government of setting Pacer fees at unlawfully high rates can proceed.” To learn more about the lawsuit, click here.