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Dr. Coburn Calls on Senate Judiciary Committee to do its Job and Confirm Judges


Location: Washington, DC

Dr. Coburn Calls on Senate Judiciary Committee to do its Job and Confirm Judges

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the Senate Judiciary Committee's abysmal record of providing "advice and consent" on judicial nominees in the 110th Congress.

"The Chairman's unwillingness to even hold hearings on numerous judicial nominees is a gross dereliction of duty. It is disappointing that the committee is putting election year partisan politics ahead of its constitutional duty to give ‘advice and consent' to the president's judicial nominees. These delays are a transparent and political attempt to run out the clock on President Bush's term," Dr. Coburn said.

Some facts on judicial confirmations:

- A Republican Senate confirmed 15 circuit court judges and 57 district court judges in President Clinton's final two years.

- Thus far in this Congress, the Senate has confirmed only 6 of President Bush's circuit court nominees and 34 district court nominees.

- The Committee has held only one hearing for one circuit court nominee since September 25, 2007, over six months ago. And, the Committee has only held two hearings that included a total of 6 district court nominees since November 1, 2007, over five months ago.

- Further, the Committee held hearings for only four circuit court nominees in all of last year.

- Last week, Judiciary Committee Republicans made the case for judicial nominees during the weekly Executive Business Meeting. Yet, this week's schedule contains no full-Committee hearings, nor does it contain an Executive Business Meeting.

"Chairman Leahy's treatment of Fourth Circuit nominee Robert Conrad, who has been pending for more than 250 days, is a case study in mindless partisanship and baseless obstruction. Last week, when I asked Chairman Leahy why this nominee has been delayed he accused Judge Conrad of making ‘anti-Catholic' statements. Chairman Leahy's stunning accusation against a nominee who happens to be Catholic underscores the urgency of giving Judge Conrad the courtesy of a prompt hearing and fair vote," Dr. Coburn said.

"Moreover, Judge Conrad has the support of both of his home state senators. He has been rated unanimously well-qualified by the American Bar Association, and he was previously confirmed as a district judge after voice vote approval by both the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. Also, the Fourth Circuit seat to which he has been nominated has been deemed a judicial emergency. If Senator Leahy has concerns about Judge Conrad's qualifications he should present those in the context of a confirmation hearing, where the nominee will have an opportunity to respond," Dr. Coburn said.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee has no excuse for its delays. The Senate has ample time to consider these nominations. We are in session only three and a half days a week. We spend much of our time in procedural quorum calls rather than debating legislation. In short, if Senators can find time to attend fundraisers, process thousands of earmark requests and be guests on talk shows they can find time to do the job they were elected to do, and are required to do under our Constitution," Dr. Coburn said.

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