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Public Statements

Judicial Nominees

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BURRIS. I thank my colleague from Virginia, Senator Warner, who has taken a leadership role on this important and crucial issue in the Senate.

At a time when we are looking at trying to move all this major legislation and solve problems for the people of America, we find ourselves stymied with regard to our third branch of government. The upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court has already started a lot of talk across the Nation, despite the fact that we don't even have a nominee as yet. But let's forget about that. We must still focus on a number of immediate judicial nominations.

My Republican friends continue to delay and obstruct, and for what reason, I have no idea. Take, for example, my home State of Illinois. There are currently five judicial vacancies, two in the central part of the State and three in the northern part, which is, of course, where we have Chicago. The caseload is tremendous on those current judges and so there are all these delays. If you want to know why it takes so long to bring someone to trial, that is because the judges there are overworked and the numbers there need to be brought up to par with what the requirements call for.

Illinois is not alone. This is happening all over the country. So the numbers are such that we have all of these nominees who have been nominated, and some have been cleared by the committee unanimously. On some of the other judges, whom we did get confirmed, we had to go through cloture. They cleared the committees, they were blocked, but then, when we got to vote on them, the result was 99 to 0. That is uncalled for. So we must do what we can in order to make sure that the judicial process is not being delayed. That is, after all, our third branch of government. That is where justice is rendered for individuals who have violated any of the Federal laws.

My Republican friends are holding these up. They are blocking these important nominations and stopping the Senate from performing its constitutional duty to advise and consent. We cannot consent because of the delay tactics they are using. As a former attorney general of my State, I have a deep understanding of how this obstructionism brings our justice system to a standstill, and justice delayed, of course, is justice denied. It is simply inexcusable.

I urge my Republican colleagues to stop blocking these qualified nominees, stop playing political games at the expense of our court system--the third branch of our government--and let's bring all of those nominees to a vote.

I thank the Senator, and I yield to him.


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