Alfred Bennett, presiding judge for the 61st Civil District Court of Texas, was confirmed 95-0 by the U.S. Senate on Monday for a federal district court judgeship. It was the first judicial confirmation vote taken by the Senate this year.
A San Antonio Express-News report said Texas has 11 judicial vacancies, more than any other state, and confirmation votes on two other judicial nominees for the federal judiciary in Texas remain in limbo.
“Majority Leader McConnell and Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, need to oil the judicial confirmation machinery they’ve allowed to rust over since they’ve taken control, and get the gears of justice moving efficiently again,” said Judith Schaeffer, vice president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
The article said there are 55 judicial vacancies nationwide, according to Glenn Sugameli, who monitors judicial appointments for Judging the Environment, a Defenders of Wildlife project. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted a record backlog of more than 330,000 civil cases in the federal courts, and how they have led to justice delayed (see Gavel Grab).