Senate Democrats

Reid: Bipartisan Effort To Fill Court Vacancies Must Be New Standard

Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today on the bipartisan confirmation to the federal district court of Marco Hernandez, Paul Holmes and Diana Saldana:

“Today’s unanimous confirmation of three qualified district court judges is a victory, not for Democrats or for Republicans, but for the U.S. justice system. That system desperately needs new hands to fill long-vacant seats and take up a crushing caseload that is slowing our courts and putting the constitutional right to a speedy trial at risk.

“This bipartisan action is an important step forward. But it is also a small step. Our courts have too many cases and too few judges on the bench.  In some places, the shortage of judges is crippling the system. Democrats and Republicans must work together to ensure the health of this nation’s justice system, and I hope today’s bipartisan effort to give our courts in crisis the tools they need will be the standard in the future instead of the exception.”

Background guidance: Today there are more than 100 judicial vacancies, nearly half of which are designated as ‘emergencies.’ Those emergency seats, including the three filled today, have been empty for more than 18 months and/or have  hundreds of cases backed up. All three nominees were non-controversial, had Republican support and came out of committee with unanimous approval last year. Marco Hernandez of Oregon was first nominated by President George Bush in 2008. Diana Saldana of Texas has the support of her two Republican home state senators. And Paul Holmes received the support of three home state senators – one bipartisan  pair in this Congress and another in the last Congress.