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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I support the nomination of Gregory Alan Phillips to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit. This is the 27th judicial confirmation this year. With today's confirmation, the Senate will have confirmed 198 lower court nominees; we have defeated two. That is 198-2, which is an outstanding record. That is a success rate of 99 percent.

We have been doing these at a fast pace. During the last Congress, we confirmed more judges than any Congress since the 103rd Congress, which was 1993-1994.

This year, the beginning of President Obama's second term, we have already confirmed more judges than were confirmed in the entire first year of President Bush's second term. Let me emphasize that again--we've already confirmed more nominees this year than we did during the entirety of 2005, the first year of President Bush's second term.

After today, only four article III judges remain on the executive calendar--three district nominees and one circuit nominee. Yet somehow Senate Democrats cite this as evidence of obstructionism.

Compare that to the calendar of June 2004, when 30 judicial nominations were on the calendar--10 circuit and 20 district. I don't recall any Senate Democrats complaining about how many nominations were piling up on the calendar.

Nor do I remember protestations from my colleagues on the other side that judicial nominees were moving too slowly. Some of those nominees had been reported out more than a year earlier and most were pending for months. Some of them never got an up or down vote.

The bottom line is that the Senate is processing the President's nominees exceptionally fairly. President Obama certainly is being treated more fairly in the beginning of his second term than Senate Democrats treated President Bush in 2005. It is not clear to me how allowing more votes so far this year than President Bush got in an entire year amounts to ``unprecedented delays and obstruction.'' Yet that is the complaint we hear over and over from the other side.

After today's votes, there will be 84 vacancies in the Federal judiciary. But 53 of those spots are without a nominee. How is it Republicans' fault that the President has not sent 53 nominees to the committee? Obviously, common sense ought to tell you that we can't act on nominees who are not presented to the Senate.

I just wanted to set the record straight--again--before we vote on this nomination.


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