Sunday, January 20, 2019

GOP Senate Delays Latino Nominees for Court Posts

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With the U.S. Senate closing in on its year-end recess, Latino judicial nominations are languishing thanks to Republican leaders’ inaction. Despite “judicial emergencies,” the Senate has failed to take a vote on several judicial nominations including that of Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo who was nominated by President Obama in November 2014 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Paul Gordon, senior legislative counsel for People for the American Way issued a statement that read “by skipping over Judge Restrepo, Senate Republicans threaten not to hold a confirmation vote by the end of the year, meaning that the reset button could be hit on his confirmation. If they do that, he’d have to be re-nominated and re-processed by the Judiciary Committee, even though Republicans and Democrats alike have voiced only support for Judge Restrepo.”

If confirmed, Restrepo would be the second Latino to serve on the Third Circuit Court and the first from Pennsylvania. The Circuit Courts are the appellate level courts that are one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.

In July of last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave the green light on Judge Restrpo’s nominations clearing his path for a floor vote by the full Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has yet to schedule a vote on his pending nomination despite urging from Pennsylvania’s GOP senator, Patrick Toomey and pressure from the American Bar Association (ABA).

Paulette Brown, ABA president had strong language for the hold up on Latino and other judicial nominations, saying “in some of our courts with judicial emergencies, litigants have to put their businesses or private lives on hold indefinitely while waiting for their day in court. This is unnecessary and unfair. Action on the 15 pending nominees has proceeded slowly to date. Most of them received their nominations over 200 days ago and had to wait over 4 months to be voted out of committee without objection.”

 

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