During the Bush presidency, Senate Republicans contended that filibusters of judicial nominations were "unconstitutional." Now that President Obama is in the White House, Senate Republicans have filibustered countless nominees, including Judge David Hamilton and Judge Barbara Keenan, who were later confirmed unanimously.
The same Republican Senators who recently threatened to blow up the Senate unless every nominee received an up or down vote have now made the use of filibusters, holds and excessive procedural delays the new norm in the Senate. Nominee Marisa Demeo is one glaring example of Republicans’ obstructionist tactics.
Demeo is the longest pending nomination on the Senate calendar. She was nominated more than a year ago, in March 2009, and approved on a voice vote by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee nearly 11 years ago, in May 2009. Sen. Jim DeMint placed a hold on Demeo due to concerns over her work with gay rights groups and Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.
As a result of delays on Superior Court Judges like Demeo, Lee Satterfield, the Chief Judge of the D.C. Court, has written Senators Reid and McConnell on several occasions to talk about the "dire situation" on the D.C. Court, which continues to face a backlog due to retirements and vacancies.
There’s simply no legitimate reason why Demeo should be blocked from a confirmation vote. She is highly experienced and qualified for this position.
- Since 2007, Demeo has served with distinction as a Magistrate Judge in the D.C. Superior Court’s criminal division. She has presided over more than 100 bench trials and more than 300 detention and preliminary hearings.
- From 2004 to 2007, Demeo served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C. As a federal prosecutor, she obtained 30 indictments and tried 45 criminal cases.
- Demeo served as regional counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), where she became an expert on immigration law and other policy issues affecting the Hispanic community.
- Demeo began her legal career at the Department of Justice, where she served for three years as a trial attorney in the DOJ honors program.
- Demeo has also served as adjunct professor at Howard University Law School, teaching criminal and immigration law.
Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to file cloture on Demeo — the first time in history that the Senate has filed cloture on a D.C. Superior Court Judge. Her confirmation vote is set for this evening.