Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement urging the Senate to confirm as many qualified judicial nominees as possible during the upcoming lame duck session:
“In re-electing President Obama, the American people have also cast their vote for appointing and confirming well-qualified and fair-minded judges best represented by the president’s two first-term appointments to the Supreme Court, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Voters know that one of the president’s most important jobs is to make appointments to the federal bench, from the high court to the trial courts where most judicial decisions are actually made.
A poll released in October for The Leadership Conference, People For the American Way and the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign found that 63 percent of voters said the issue of who will serve on the Supreme Court was an important consideration in their vote for president. And by a five-point margin, voters trusted President Obama over Mitt Romney to select good federal judges and Supreme Court justices.
Now that the voters have spoken, it’s critical for the Senate to get back to work and move expeditiously to consider President Obama’s nominees to the bench. Currently, there are 19 nominees on the Senate floor awaiting a final decision on confirmation and another six who have had their confirmation hearing in the Judiciary Committee and could be considered during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress. With more than 100 trial and appellate court vacancies across the nation – including 33 categorized as judicial emergencies – the country cannot afford a continuation of the obstructionist tactics that undermined the confirmation process and caused long delays in the consideration of well-qualified nominees.
Instead of blocking the president’s nominees, it’s time for the Senate to resume its traditional role of providing ‘advise and consent’ that is free from abject partisanship. The health of our judiciary and our ability to dispense justice in a timely matter depend on it.”
Nancy Zirkin is executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org