June 4, 2013

Sen. Whitehouse Joins President Obama for Announcement on Judges

Washington, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of three new judges for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a leading advocate for faster judicial confirmations, joined the President in the White House Rose Garden for today’s announcement.

“For too long, Senate Republicans have been playing political games with our judicial nominations process – holding up qualified nominees for months, and sometimes years,” said Whitehouse.  “The time for games is over.  Our judicial system is part of our constitutional design of separated powers, and provides an essential forum in which all Americans stand equal.  I’m glad the President is fighting to keep that system strong, and will work hard in the Senate to see these three nominees confirmed.”

As of June 4, President Obama’s confirmed circuit court nominees had been pending before the Senate for an average of 146 days before being confirmed.  That’s compared with only 52 days for each of George W. Bush’s circuit court nominees through the same point in his second term.  In eight years, only four of President Bush’s district court nominees received any opposition on the floor from Democrats.  After just four years, 40 of President Obama’s district court nominees have received opposition on the floor.

President Obama today announced the nominations of: Patricia Ann Millett, an appeals lawyer in Washington; Cornelia Pillard, a Georgetown University law professor; and Robert Leon Wilkins, a judge on the U.S. District Court in Washington.  They would fill the three seats currently vacant on the 11-seat D.C. Circuit Court.  President Obama has previously nominated Caitlin Halligan and Sri Srinivasan to fill vacancies on the Court.  Halligan’s nomination was obstructed by Senate Republicans for more than two years, causing her to ultimately withdraw her nomination.  Srinivasan was confirmed by the Senate earlier this year.


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