WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (2007-2010), took to the floor of the United States Senate again Tuesday to urge the Republican Majority to hold a vote on Marylander and District Court nominee Paula Xinis, and to hold a hearing and vote on Marylander Merrick Garland, nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Senate Republicans again objected to Senator Cardin’s request to confirm multiple consensus nominees, including Xinis. Urging the Republicans to “do their job,” Senator Cardin called the delays “outrageous and an affront to our system of checks and balances.”
Video of Senator Cardin’s remarks can be streamed here.
On Friday, Senator Cardin was joined by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Washington, D.C. Bureau Director Hillary Shelton and members of the Maryland legal community at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Md., to urge action on judicial vacancies.
“We need nine justices on the Supreme Court and we need a fully functioning judiciary across the nation. In Maryland, we have an eminently qualified nominee, Paula Xinis, who has been waiting for months to fill a seat in Greenbelt. This vacancy is now a judicial emergency. There are qualified nominees for lower courts who are sitting in limbo because some Senate Republicans are unwilling to do their job and go through the confirmation process. Much like Judge Garland, many of these nominees once received glowing reviews from the very Senators who are now blocking them,” said Senator Cardin. “It is outrageous that the Senate leadership is deliberately allowing the number of judicial vacancies and judicial emergencies to grow; justice delayed is truly justice denied.”
Maryland Attorney General Frosh: “The States rely on the Supreme Court to evaluate the constitutionality of state laws, and to ensure that federal and constitutional law are interpreted and applied uniformly across all states and territories. In the years 2013 and 2014, the Supreme Court issued 146 opinions, selecting cases that would resolve significant disagreements among state Supreme Courts and Federal Appellate Courts. In those same two years, 31 decisions from the Supreme Court were 5 to 4 decisions – decisions where a single vote made a difference. Uncertainty in the law is bad, and certainty on vital decisions is needed so that lower courts and litigants, prosecutors and police, businesses and employees, know what the law is and how it should be applied. What Messrs. McConnell and Grassley are proposing is lazy and arrogant. It is undemocratic, unprecedented and unlawful. The Majority leader and his followers have a duty to the American people to do their jobs and vote based on merits, not partisan politics.”
NAACP Director Shelton: “Since the start of the 114th Congress, Senate Leadership has allowed vacancies on federal courts to dramatically rise from 43 to 79. More than a year into this new Congress, Senate leadership has allowed only 17 judges to be confirmed. By way of comparison, in the last two years of the Bush administration, the Senate confirmed 68 judges, including 28 judges in 2008, prior to the presidential election.”