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Public Statements

Nomination of Gary Scott Feinerman

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BURRIS. Madam President, very shortly, we are going to be voting on a judicial nomination. I come before this body to bring my thoughts on that action.

As a lawyer, as a former attorney general for the State of Illinois, I consider it a great privilege to evaluate and confirm nominees to the bench. The constitutional power of advise and consent is one this Senate must exercise with discretion. It determines the makeup of our judicial branch and helps preserve the principle of equal justice under law.

That is why I have come to the floor today in support of Gary Scott Feinerman, President Obama's nominee to become a judge for the Northern District Court of Illinois.

Gary is an Illinois native and a graduate of both Yale and Stanford Universities. Over the past two decades, he has worked extensively in private practice--most recently for Sidley Austin, the respected Chicago law firm. He has served in the public sector, as well as a clerk to the U.S. Supreme Court and counsel at the Department of Justice.

From 2003 to 2007, he was Solicitor General of the State of Illinois. That is the person who argues the cases on behalf of the attorney general before the highest court, whether in Illinois or in the Nation. He held that position with distinction, proving his commitment to the highest ideals of fairness and justice.

Time and again over the years, Gary Feinerman has demonstrated his competence in the legal profession. His training is without equal. His experience is second to none. That is why I am proud to support his nomination to the Northern District Court of the State of Illinois.

We must demand the very best of our public officials, especially those who are entrusted with lifetime appointments on the Federal bench.

These fine men and women are charged with interpreting a body of law that is constantly evolving. They must navigate a treacherous landscape, full of gray areas, to arrive at sound legal truth. The answers are seldom easy, but I have confidence in Gary Feinerman's ability to rise to this challenge. At every stage, he has proven his considerable intellect and his passion for the law. I am proud to join the President in calling for his swift confirmation. I ask my colleagues to join me in pledging to afford the nominee with a fair and timely vote to confirm him to the bench.

This body has a crowded legislative calendar in the months ahead, but cases have piled up in the Northern District of Illinois, and every single day more judicial nominees await as vacancies remain unfilled. Even as we consider Mr. Feinerman's confirmation today, another Illinois nominee, Judge Sharon Johnson-Coleman, awaits a similar up-or-down vote. We need to rise to our constitutional duty and vote on these nominees. We must waste no more time in allowing this fine public servant to get to work.

Let's put our judges to work. Let's confirm Mr. Feinerman now.

Madam President, I yield the floor.


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