Vitter Disappointed in Democrats' Objection to Move Forward with Dugas Nomination
U.S. Sen. David Vitter today expressed his disappointment over Senate Democrats' objection to his unanimous consent proposal regarding the nomination of U.S. Attorney David Dugas to the Middle District Court of Louisiana.
"I have requested on several occasions that Sen. Landrieu turn in her blue slip' to allow David Dugas' nomination to move forward, but she has not done so. And I have twice now requested that the Judiciary Committee hold a hearing on this nominee, but the committee continues to take no action," said Vitter. "The rejection today of my call for unanimous consent for the entire Senate to move forward on this worthy nominee is unfortunately the latest partisan effort by Senate Democrats to obstruct this and other qualified nominees."
Vitter has twice requested that Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy hold a hearing on Dugas, who was first nominated by President Bush on March 19, 2007. Vitter's unanimous consent agreement requested that Dugas' confirmation go to the Senate floor for debate and an up-or-down vote if the committee does not hold a hearing and vote on his nomination by March 19, 2008 - the one year anniversary of Dugas' nomination. It is Vitter's contention that a full year for the committee to consider the nomination is more than reasonable, and if the committee cannot do so, then it is time to move forward with a vote.
"It is clear that Mr. Dugas' nomination is being held up for purely partisan reasons," Vitter said. "Each day that passes raises the likelihood of a judicial emergency in Louisiana's middle judicial district. Instead of holding a formal hearing and proceeding to a fair up-or-down vote, the Democrats are attempting to run out the clock in the hopes that their presidential candidate will win in November."
With ten months remaining in his final term, 18 of President Bush's district court judicial nominees remain unconfirmed. Vitter's proposed agreement was the latest in a series of procedures designed to bring about full Senate consideration of Mr. Dugas' nomination. Last week, he sent a letter to Chairman Leahy calling for a formal committee hearing on Mr. Dugas, and he has requested on several occasions that Sen. Landrieu return her blue slip' to the committee.
"During his State of the Union address, the president called for a fair up-or-down vote on all his nominees, including Mr. Dugas," said Vitter. "With their objection to this agreement, the Democrats have signaled their intent to continue their obstructionism. In the meantime, a backlog of cases continues to build up in Louisiana, and I am disappointed that they have once again failed to take action on this nominee. But I will keep working to try to get Mr. Dugas the full and fair consideration that he deserves."