Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday urged the Senate to confirm several nominees approved by his committee, including five Justice Department officials and two prospective U.S. Attorneys.
The nominees are:
- Dawn Johnsen, who was approved by his committee on March 19, for head of the Office of Legal Counsel.
- Mary L. Smith, who was reported out of the committee June 11, for head of the Tax Division.
- Christopher Schroeder, who was reported by the Judiciary panel July 28, for head of the Office of Legal Policy.
- Susan B. Carbon, who was reported out of committee Dec. 3, for head of the Violence Against Women Office.
- John Laub, who was reported out of committee Dec. 3, for head of the National Institute of Justice.
- Sanford Coats, who was reported out of committee Dec. 3, for U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
- Mary Elizabeth Phillips, who was reported out of committee Dec. 3, for U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
In a press release, Leahy said, “This year we have witnessed unprecedented delays in the consideration of qualified and noncontroversial nominations,” adding, “We have had to waste weeks seeking time agreements in order to consider nominations that were then confirmed unanimously. I hope that instead of withholding consent and threatening filibusters of President Obama’s judicial nominees, Senate Republicans will treat the nominees of President Obama fairly.”
He continued, “During President Bush’s last year in office, we reduced judicial vacancies to as low as 34, even though it was a presidential election year. Judicial vacancies have now spiked. There are currently 97 vacancies on our federal circuit and district courts, and 23 more have already been announced. This is approaching record levels. I know we can do better. Justice should not be delayed or denied to any American because of overburdened courts and the lack of federal judges.”