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Public Statements

Judicial Nominees

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Madam President, I thank Senator Warner.

I did want to touch on the concerns of the people of Colorado with respect to the discussion we are having today. I want to start by saying that one of the fundamental roles of the Senate is to advise and consent the President of the United States. We do not even have a chance to advise the President, much less consent, because of the anonymous holds and the slowdown tactics that have been utilized when it comes to all these important nominees.

We ought to have a chance to debate on the floor of the Senate, which is the advisory role, and we may find some judges do not pass muster, but they deserve an up-or-down vote on the floor of the greatest deliberative body in the world, the U.S. Senate. That is not happening.

I note that some of my colleagues pointed out two cases where Judge Thompson from Rhode Island for months was stalled on the Executive Calendar. There was no reason given. When she was finally brought to the floor, there was a 98-to-0 vote, a unanimous vote. What was the problem? Why couldn't she be confirmed earlier?

With Judge Keene from the State of the Senator from Virginia, we had to have a cloture vote to bring her to the floor--4 months. She was approved 99 to 0. There was no objection expressed to her sitting on the circuit court. This is senseless. This is absurd.

In Colorado, we have had two vacancies on our district court for many months, going on years now.

That bench is undermanned right now. Those judges are appealing to Senator Bennet and me to get two more judges for reinforcements so that docket can be reconsidered. Those district court judges are not being moved on the floor of the Senate so that we can advise and then, hopefully, consent.

We have a Federal attorney whom we need to see confirmed. There has been no movement there as well. So for me, the Senate is not keeping faith with the people of our respective States and not keeping faith with the people of the United States.

I know we can do better. I know the American people, when they look here to Washington right now, wonder why we are behaving like children. Children have an excuse, don't they, Senator? They are children. We are not. We have greater responsibilities. I hope we can set aside our differences, bring these nominees to the floor, across the board, and have an up-or-down vote.

I would suggest that perhaps we ought to bring a block of nominees to the floor under a unanimous consent request. They have all been vetted. The President needs to have a full complement of people in his administration to do the work of the American people.

Again, I thank Senator Warner. We will continue to beat these drums until these nominees have had a chance to be voted upon. This is crucial to me and to the challenges our country faces here today.


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