Gavel Grab

Judicial Vacancies Rising, Confirmations Dropping

The Huffington Post addresses the U.S. Senate’s delayed action on judicial confirmations across the states in a column headlined, “Congratulations, GOP. You’re Confirming Judges At The Slowest Rate In 60 Years”.

According to the article, an analysis by Alliance for Justice found that “six confirmations is the slowest single-year pace since the Senate confirmed a total of nine judges in 1953.” It adds that the number of judicial emergencies has increased by 158 percent. Currently, there are 32 other judicial nominees whose confirmations are pending in the U.S. Senate as vacancies continue to rise, according to the piece.

Meanwhile, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reports that an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Wilhelmina Wright, was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to become a federal district judge in Minnesota. But “whether she will be confirmed by the gridlocked Senate this year remains a question mark,” the Star Tribune notes.

And in Florida, where several judicial emergencies exist, First Judicial Circuit Judge Jan Shackelford is one of three finalists selected to be a federal judge in the state’s North District, according to the Pensacola News Journal. Once the president announces a nominee, the confirmation will await the Senate’s vote, which could take a significant amount of time.  Floridian Mary Barzee Flores was nominated for a position on the federal bench for the Southern District in Florida six months ago and is still awaiting confirmation. See Gavel Grab.


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