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Senate Deal Means Vote on Houston AUSA’s Judicial Nomination
Posted By Elizabeth Murphy On March 14, 2012 @ 5:54 pm In News | Comments Disabled
A prominent Justice Department prosecutor is among the stalled judicial nominees who will receive a vote in the Senate under a deal struck Wednesday between Democrats and Republicans.
Southern District of Texas Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Costa was nominated to the federal bench in Texas on Sept. 9, 2011. He received the American Bar Association’s highest rating for judge nominees — unanimously well qualified — and has the support of Texas’s two Republican senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn.
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Costa’s nomination last December, but like 21 other pending judicial nominees, he hasn’t received a vote before the full Senate.
The deal struck Wednesday came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened to force full roll call votes on 17 stalled nominees, which would have brought the Senate to a standstill and blocked action on a jobs bill that Republicans want to approve. The process of approving judicial nominees is normally more quickly dispatched through the unanimous consent of senators.
But the judicial approval process in the Senate has long been broken, marked by obstruction from both parties in a hyper partisan atmosphere. The nomination of Costa and another nominee with Justice Department ties — Ronnie Abrams, wife of former Criminal Division deputy assistant attorney general Greg Andres — have been caught in the middle.
Under the new agreement, the Senate will vote on 14 of the stalled nominees — 12 for federal district courts and two for appellate courts.
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