Today, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Dale Drozd to a seat on the Eastern District of California, one of the most overburdened courts in the country. Although this is terrific news for this court, it is long overdue – and part of a terrible trend: Soon-to-be-Judge Drozd will be only the seventh federal judicial nominee to receive a vote ten months into 2015. Read more »
Yesterday, upon its return from August recess, the Senate confirmed Roseann Ketchmark to a seat on the Western District of Missouri by a vote of 98-0. Here are the reasons this unanimous confirmation vote was (unfortunately) newsworthy:
The Senate left for the August recess on Wednesday night. Apparently Senate Majority Leader McConnell and his leadership team were untroubled by the fact that only five judges have been confirmed thus far in 2015. In contrast, at this point in 2007 – the second-to-last year of President George W. Bush’s presidency – the Democratic-controlled Senate had confirmed 26 judges.
This dramatic slowdown in confirmations has not happened by accident. Attempts to schedule floor votes on nominees have been blocked at every turn. Most recently, when New York Senator Chuck Schumer asked for consent to schedule votes on three New York district court nominees – one of whom is nominated to a seat where there currently is no active judge sitting – Senate Judiciary Chairman Senator Grassley objected and informed Senator Schumer that the Senate would not be voting on any judicial nominations until the Senate returns in September. Read more »
On Tuesday, Senator Reid filed for cloture on five district court nominations (Pamela Pepper to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Brenda K. Sannes to the Northern District of New York, Madeline Cox Arleo to the District of New Jersey, Wendy Beetlestone to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Victor Allen Bolden to the District of Connecticut). Four of the nominees are women and would increase gender representation on the bench – for example, Pamela Pepper would be the first woman judge in the district to which she has been nominated. Cloture and confirmation votes are expected this week. Read more »
On Monday, the Senate confirmed Gregg Costa to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate left for its Memorial Day recess yesterday after confirming another circuit court judge, David Barron to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. This caps off a month in which a total of 15 judicial nominees were confirmed (3 to the Courts of Appeals and 12 to the District Courts). Moreover, yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on three district court nominees, setting the stage for votes during the first week in June, after the Senate returns from its recess. Read more »
Following the confirmation of Michelle Friedland to the Ninth Circuit on Monday, the Senate voted to move forward on six nominees to district court seats on Tuesday. These nominees — Sheryl Lipman to the Western District of Tennessee, Allen Bastian to the Eastern District of Washington, Manish Shah to the Northern District of Illinois, Daniel Crabtree to the District of Kansas, Cynthia Bashant to the Southern District of California, and Jon Levy to the District of Maine — were confirmed on Wednesday. Read more »
Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Michelle Friedland to the Ninth Circuit by a vote of 51-40. This important court will definitely benefit from now-Judge Friedland’s exceptional talents, and her confirmation as the 17th woman ever to sit on that court increases its diversity. Read more »