Senate Democrats

Judicial Nominees: Snapshots

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 – 9:00AM
There are 22 judicial nominations reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee still awaiting a final Senate vote. Twelve of these nominations have been stalled by Republicans since last year when they refused to consent to vote on a single nominee before the end of the session. Seventeen of these nominations received strong bipartisan support from the Judiciary Committee.

Meet The Judges

Northern District of West Virginia – Gina Groh is nominated to fill a vacancy created on December 18, 2006. There is one vacancy on the Northern District of West Virginia; the court is 33 percent understaffed.

District of Utah – David Nuffer is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated as a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created on November 30, 2009. There are two vacancies on the District Court for the District of Utah; the court is 40 percent understaffed.

Central District of California – Michael W. Fitzgerald is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated as a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created on July 11, 2011. There are two vacancies on the Central District of California; the court is more than seven percent understaffed.

Southern District of New York – Ronnie Abrams is nominated to fill a vacancy was created on February 1, 2011. There are five vacancies on the Southern District of New York; the court is nearly 18 percent understaffed.

District of Columbia – Rudolph Contreras is nominated to fill a vacancy was created on January 31, 2011. There are two vacancies on the District Court for the District of Columbia; the court is more than 13 percent understaffed.

District of Nevada – Miranda Du is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated as a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created on May 26, 2011. There are two vacancies on the District Court for Nevada; the court is more than 28 percent understaffed.

Eastern District of Louisiana – Susie Morgan is nominated to fill a vacancy created on December 8, 2010. There is one vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana; the court is more than 8 percent understaffed.

Southern District of Texas – Gregg J. Costa is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated as a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created in June 2009. There are two vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, resulting in a court that is more than 10 percent staffed.

Western District of Texas – David C. Guaderrama is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated as a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created on February 2009. There are two vacancies on the Western District of Texas; the court is more than 15 percent understaffed.

Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri – Brian C. Wimes is nominated to fill a vacancy that was created on August 27, 2011. There are two vacancies in the Western District of Missouri; the court is 40 percent understaffed.

Northern District of Illinois – John Lee is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated as a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created on August 12, 2009. There are three vacancies on the Northern District of Illinois; the court is more than 13 percent understaffed.

Northern District of Illinois – John Tharp is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created on February 1, 2010. There are three vacancies on the Northern District of Illinois; the court is more than 13 percent understaffed.

District of Maryland – George Russell is nominated to fill a vacancy that has been designated as a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The vacancy was created on September 1, 2008. There is one vacancy on the District of Maryland; the court is 10 percent understaffed.

Eastern District of Arkansas – Kristine Baker is nominated to fill a vacancy that was created on September 30, 2008. There is one vacancy on the Eastern District of Arkansas; the court is 20 percent understaffed.

Northern District of Ohio – Jeffrey Helmick is nominated to fill a vacancy that was created on June 1, 2010. There is one vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio; the court is 9 percent understaffed.

District of South Carolina – Mary Lewis is nominated to fill a future vacancy. There is currently one vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina; the court is 10 percent understaffed.

District of Massachusetts – Timothy Hillman is nominated to fill a vacancy that was created on May 22, 2011. There are two vacancies on the District of Massachusetts; the court is more than 15 percent understaffed.



Judicial Nominee Wait Time: Report To Confirmation

The kinds of qualified, consensus judicial nominations that in past years would have been confirmed in days or weeks now languish on the Senate’s Executive Calendar for months because of Republican refusal to consent to debate and vote on nominations., in many instances requiring cloture to overcome Republican filibusters so the Senate can vote on them.

Fast Facts

  • Obama’s judicial nominees are now waiting an average of 4 times longer than Bush’s nominees just to reach a vote in the Senate, creating a historic vacancy crisis in the federal courts.
  • Under Obama, the average wait has been 93 days for a nominee to be confirmed (At this point in Bush’s presidency, avg. district court nominee waited just 22 days after committee approval for a vote from the full Senate)
  • During the Obama presidency “judicial emergencies” declared by the U.S. Courts have soared from 20 to 35 and the vacancy rate has been kept at an all-time high.
  • 160 million Americans live in districts or circuits with at least one judicial vacancy.
  • Reid has said he’s willing to bring the nominations up and move forward with them in a matter of five minutes. This has been done before
    • In 2002, the Senate confirmed 17 of Bush’s district court nominees — plus a Circuit Court nomination — by a voice vote in just a few minutes.
    • More recently: ·On September 26, 2008, the Senate confirmed 10 district court judges by voice vote. All 10 had been reported just one day earlier.
  • No district court nominee has ever been successfully blocked by a filibuster — if Republicans deny cloture on these nominees, they’ll be setting a new and dangerous standard

During George W. Bush’s Presidency

  • President Bush got through 205 nominations in his first term with vacancies dropping below 30.
  • The Senate took up more Bush nominations in his last two years with a Democratic majority than they did in 2005/2006 with a Republican majority.
  • During Bush’s first term, 57 district court nominees were confirmed within a week of being approved by the Judiciary Committee. During Obama’s first term, only 5 have been approved.