WASHINGTON - Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement regarding the Senate deal to confirm only 19 of President Obama’s 38 pending judicial nominees before adjourning the 110thCongress:
“This deal provides little to cheer about. While we’re pleased that our federal courts will have 19 new highly qualified judges to help address the growing judicial vacancy crisis, the fact is that each and every one of the 38 nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee deserved an up-or-down confirmation vote by the full Senate.
For two years, the Senate Republican minority has shamefully abused Senate rules to delay and deny confirmation votes to scores of well-qualified individuals seeking to serve their country in the judicial and executive branches of government. The naked partisanship of these maneuvers is demonstrated by the many lopsided votes in favor of those nominees who managed to outlast this gauntlet of obstruction.
The disrespect shown to our federal courts has been beyond disturbing. Some nominees have been forced to put their lives and careers on hold for more than a year. But the greatest cost has been to justice itself and the people of our nation who depend on the federal courts to enforce their rights and settle their disputes. Courtrooms without judges are simply incapable of dispensing justice.
The civil and human rights coalition is especially troubled by the number of highly qualified women and minority nominees who have been denied confirmation votes during the 110th Congress. To his credit, President Obama’s nominations recognize that our federal courts are a long way from reflecting the growing diversity of our nation. Closing that gap should be a priority for the Senate as well.
Despite the record of the last two years, The Leadership Conference is confident that most – if not all – of the nominees denied a confirmation vote in this Congress can be confirmed in the 112th Congress. Highly qualified nominees such as Goodwin Liu, Edward Chen and Louis Butler deserve to have an up-or-down confirmation vote on the Senate floor. We urge the White House to renominate them and for senators of both political parties to put partisanship aside and give advice and consent to the president’s nominees. It’s their responsibility to a functioning justice system and to our Constitution.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO 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.