The Senate confirmed six of President Barack Obama’s nominees for federal judgeships late Monday, prompting statements from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman and ranking Republican that viewed the process through different prisms.
“If this is an indication that the needless stalling is ending, that Senate Republicans will abandon their insistence on harmful delay for delay’s sake, and that qualified judicial nominees will no longer wait three months or more after being fully considered by the Judiciary Committee for a final vote, then this is a good sign that we may finally be able to end the judicial vacancies crisis that has gone on for far too long, to the detriment of our courts and the American people,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the committee, said in a statement.
Not surprisingly, the panel’s ranking Republican, Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, had a different perspective, calling the confirmation of executive and judicial appointments “one of the highest responsibilities of the Senate.”
“It is a duty I take seriously,” Grassley said. “It is not, as some have suggested, a pro forma process. We are not here to merely rubber stamp the President’s nominees. Sometimes that process takes a little time. It is the Senate’s right and duty to review thoroughly the record, qualifications, and temperament of nominees. Above all, the process is to be treated with respect and with dignity.”
Leahy observed that more than 20 nominees are awaiting confirmation, and that five of the six who were confirmed late Monday were endorsed by the Judiciary Committee in May or June.
Confirmed on Monday night were: Henry Floyd, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit; Nannette J. Brown, for the Eastern District of Louisiana; Nancy Torresen, for the District of Maine; William F. Kuntz II, for the Eastern District of New York; Marina G. Marmolejo, for the Southern District of Texas, and Jennifer G. Zipps for the District of Arizona.