Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) found little common ground on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. But they agree there are Justice Department nominees who’ve waited too long for confirmation votes in the Senate.
Sessions said in an interview with Main Justice today that the Senate should bring Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney nominee Joyce Vance and Vermont U.S. Attorney nominee Tristram Coffin up for a vote.
We reported yesterday that Leahy pointed his finger at Republicans for delaying votes on eight Justice Department nominees, including five U.S. Attorney nominees who’ve already been approved by the Judiciary Committee.
The Vermont Democrat told The Blog of Legal Times there is “no excuse” for the holdups, especially on Vance, who is now serving as interim U.S. Attorney in her Birmingham-based district and who is supported by Sessions.
Vance and Coffin were reported out of committee on June 18.
“Of course there are some that are controversial for the Department of Justice, but those two certainly are not,” Sessions said. ”It is time for [Vance and Coffin] to move.”
Southern District of New York nominee Preet Bharara, counsel to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the Judiciary Committee, was also approved by the panel on June 18. On June 25, the the panel unanimously approved U.S. Attorney nominees John Paul Kacavas for the District of New Hampshire and B. Todd Jones for the District of Minnesota.
Republicans led by Sessions have been critical of other Justice Department nominees, including Dawn Johnsen,President Obama’s choice to head the Office of Legal Counsel; Tax Division nominee Mary L. Smith and Civil Rights Division nominee Thomas Perez.
But Sessions said no Senate Republicans have approached him with concerns about the U.S. Attorney nominees.