The Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, objected yesterday to votes on the 17 district court nominees who have been pending on the Senate calendar since as long as April, including those supported by their home state Republican senators. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has previously called for the Senate to clear the backlog of nominations, and he issued this statement today.
Our nation is in the midst of a crisis -- with "judicial emergencies" declared around America, because partisan obstruction is preventing votes to fill vacancies. Sixty-one of the nation's 673 district court judgeships -- one of every 11 -- are vacant. This situation is virtually unprecedented and unacceptable, delaying and thereby denying justice to millions of Americans. For the U.S. District Court, 17 nominees have cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and are stalled in the full Senate.
One extraordinary qualified nominee is Hartford attorney Michael Shea, whose nomination was approved by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of the Judiciary Committee on April 26. He has still not been confirmed -- mostly due to partisan gamesmanship. Shea is an experienced lawyer with a strong professional background and support, and bipartisan backing, and Connecticut needs him on the federal bench.
U.S. District courts are the final judicial decision maker for many litigants. Filling district court vacancies ensures that constituents in Connecticut, as well as citizens across the nation, have their day in court and an opportunity to seek justice. I urge an end to this senseless obstructionism by voting to confirm all of the pending district court nominees.