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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on behalf of a friend of mine who is going to be voted on by the Senate shortly to be a U.S. district court judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas. But before I do, I need to offer a few comments on what the Senator from Iowa and the Senator from Illinois said a few moments ago that I agree with.

It is taking too long to get these nominees to this point in the process. There are too many games that are being played. From my stand, both sides are at fault. I would hope my colleagues would stop playing games and stop even the blame game, but let's get to work and let's help clear up the backlog in the Federal judiciary.

Right now, it is underresourced. We do have a judicial emergency in this particular district I am about to talk about. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied. We need these judges on the bench, and I would hope the partisanship would stop.

In Arkansas we are very fortunate to have very strong Federal judges. We have a history of that. Part of the reason we do is because our judges are, for the most part, nonpolitical. Sure, they come from various backgrounds, but there is a consensus on these judges that they are going to be good judges, and that is the tradition we have in our State.

We have a total of eight district court judges in our State, and Kris Baker fits perfectly in that line. She has a true record of distinguished service in the legal community. She is well known and well respected, and she will be a great U.S. district court judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

The court right now, nationwide, is about 20 percent understaffed. That is why it is great to have someone who has an ABA ``well-qualified'' recommendation to go along with her nomination.

She came out of the Judiciary Committee on a very large bipartisan vote. The reason is she has been with a midsized law firm in Little Rock since 2000, she regularly has accepted prisoner and other appointment cases from the Federal courts, she has played a leadership role not just in the legal community but in other organizations in the larger community, and she is going to be a fantastic addition to the Federal bench, not just for Arkansas but nationwide.

Whenever I look at these nominees, I ask myself three questions: First, can they be fair and impartial? I think for Kris, absolutely the answer is yes.

Second, do they bring to the bench credentials that represent the best and the brightest in the legal community? In her case, the answer is yes.

Third--this is especially important for trial court judges--do they have the proper judicial temperament? For Kris Baker, the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding yes.

So I would ask my colleagues to give her a favorable voice vote, as I understand it, in a few moments. But that tells us how noncontroversial she is and what a great credit she has been to the legal community and how excited we are to have her as a member of the Federal judiciary.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.


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