Editorial: Judicial Nominations are 'Pawns in … Political Chess Match'

In a presidential election year, Senate Republicans are using President Obama’s judicial nominations “as pawns in their political chess match,” a Sacramento Bee editorial warns.

“There are too many vacancies on federal courts in California and other states, where there aren’t enough judges to handle the caseloads. Too often, justice delayed really is justice denied,” the editorial states.

The editorial decries the political gamesmanship, saying “The Republicans deserve to be called out on their obstructionism – and their hypocrisy, since they often complain about how slow the federal courts are.”

Two California nominees who would bring diversity to the bench are among 14 approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, who are awaiting up-or-down votes in the full Senate. The two gained unanimous approval from the Judiciary Committee.

One is Federal District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, nominated for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She is the first Vietnamese American woman to become a federal judge. The other is Michael Fitzgerald, who would would become, if confirmed, California’s first openly gay federal judge.

While further partisan delays would allow Obama to assail a “do-nothing” Congress in his re-election campaign, the editorial says, “[F]or those of us in the real world – particularly those seeking justice in the federal courts – it would be far, far better if these qualified jurists could get to work.”

To learn more about the impact of partisan politics on federal judicial nominations, visit the JAS issues page on the topic.


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