Skip to main content

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced an agreement for the Senate to vote on 10 judicial nominees in the next few weeks. These 10 are among the 27 nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee, but have fallen victim to Republican obstruction.

Consider, for example, Marina Garcia Marmolejo, the president's nominee to the Southern District of Texas. She was nominated on July 28, 2010. The seat she's been nominated for has been deemed a "judicial emergency" by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Despite having the strong support of both John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, and easy approval in Judiciary, when she finally gets a vote in the Senate, Marmolejo will have been waiting 433 days; almost 62 weeks.

Mamolejo's case is sadly typical. Take a look at this map of federal judiciary emergencies around the country, where there are either district or circuit courts (or both) facing emergencies because of vacancies.

judicial emergency map

That's from a report by the Center for American Progress. What all this means?

More than 200 million Americans—fully two-thirds of the nation’s population—today are living in a jurisdiction that has been declared a judicial emergency* meaning that in courtrooms across the country there aren’t enough judges to hear the cases that are piling up. The map . . . depicts the areas of the country where there are federal district courts and circuit courts of appeal with judicial emergencies. In practical terms, it shows where judges are overworked and where justice is being significantly delayed for the American public. The nation’s federal courts—where Social Security appeals are heard, employment cases decided, immigration issues settled, and where Americans vindicate their constitutional rights—are in a crisis because there simply aren’t enough judges on the bench.

In south Texas, where Marmolejo will finally be seated in the next few weeks, "a federal trial judge’s criminal caseload can be nearly six times the normal caseload. As Texas federal Judge W. Royal Furgeson explains, this means that judges are often only able to devote as much time to major trials as judges in 'night traffic court' have time to devote to small fines for minor driving offenses."

judicial confirmations
Just last month, the White House sounded the alarm on its stymied nominees and the judicial crisis and the unprecedented delays created by the Republicans in the Senate.

The administration also has a hand in this, with President Obama nominating judges at a slower rate than the rate they're retiring at. But there are still at least another 10 nominees waiting confirmation after these 10 are considered by the Senate.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site