Wednesday, December 9, 2015

GOP freeze on judgeship includes single-handed Tom Cotton blockade

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 3:18 PM

click to enlarge cotton.jpg
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy has again ripped Senate Republicans for its failure to act, promptly or otherwise, on judicial nominations.

His news release citing several failures to advance nominees with bipartisan support including from homestate Republicans also again cites U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton's singular roadblock to filling multiple openings on the federal court of claims. This is a little-known but important court. In fact, Auditor Andrea Lea is likely heading there with her attempt to convert unclaimed mature U.S. savings bonds to state of Arkansas ownership.

...there are also five nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that were all nominated more than a year ago who all continue to be held up by a single Republican Senator – the junior Senator of Arkansas. The Court of Federal Claims has been referred to as “the People’s Court” because it allows citizens to seek prompt justice against our government. Of the five nominees, one is a Cuban American who has devoted his entire career to public service at the U.S. Department of Justice; another is an African American woman who spent over two decades serving as a Judge Advocate General and as a Military Judge. All five were voted out of the Judiciary Committee by unanimous voice vote, but Senator Cotton continues to object to any of them receiving an up-or-down vote. He claims to have concerns with the caseload, but a recent letter from the Chief Judge of the Court of Federal Claims to the Judiciary Committee has indicated that only one of the nine senior judges is willing to be recalled for full time duty, and the other three would only agree to be recalled on a limited basis. Moreover, the court’s overall caseload has increased nine percent over the last year. There are no good reasons for Senator Cotton to continue blocking these nominees. They deserve to have their confirmation votes scheduled. Senators can vote for or against them but they should not be denied a simple up-or-down vote.

Tell it to extremist Tom Cotton. He's unwilling to get the people's real and pressing business done in the courts. But he did bray on social media today about a cornball publicity stunt to ask the Air Force if it was ready to track Santa's arrival.

In a land with Tom Cotton at the controls, it's easier to believe in the Grinch.

Glenn Sugameli, who heads the Judging the Environment judicial nominations project, called the Leahy statement to my attention. It has experienced court delay because of a shortage of claims judges.

His organization is not alone in protesting Cotton's obstructionism.

And Sen. Harry Reid notes the disproportionate impact, including by Cotton's blockade, on Latino judicial nominees. And you can read more here particularly on Cotton's blockade of Armando Bonilla.

Note that the nominations being blocked, included Cotton's one-man blockade,  are of nominees who won unanimous committee approval from a Republican-controlled Senate.

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