Washington, DC— Jim Manley, Spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, released the following statement today in response to baseless Republican charges that Senator Reid did not fulfill his pledge to confirm federal judges:
“Devoid of ideas for addressing global warming and unwilling to work with us to strengthen our weakening economy and energy policy, Republicans have now resorted to changing the subject with inaccurate attacks.
“Senator Reid pledged a good-faith effort to have the Senate consider three court of appeals nominees before the Memorial Day recess, with the explicit caveat that achieving that goal depended on Republican cooperation. The Senate did, in fact, confirm Virginia Supreme Court Judge Steven Agee to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in May, and Chairman Leahy expedited Judiciary Committee consideration of two nominees to Michigan seats on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. These nominations were the result of many years of negotiation between the White House and the Michigan Senators.
“Unfortunately, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee objected to expedited consideration of the Michigan nominees. As a result, it was impossible to have the Senate consider these two additional nominees before the recess, despite Senator Reid’s best efforts. Any successful deal requires good faith by both sides – in this case, unfortunately, our willingness was not matched by the other side.
“More generally, Senate Democrats have treated President Bush’s judicial nominations with far greater deference than President Clinton’s were afforded by a Republican-controlled Senate that denied hearings or floor consideration for almost 70 Clinton nominees. Three-quarters of President Bush’s court of appeals nominees have been confirmed, while only half of President Clinton’s appellate nominations were confirmed. Last year the Senate confirmed 40 judges, more than during any of the three previous years with Republicans in charge, and today’s federal judicial vacancy rate is the lowest it has been in years.”