Recommended Readings

1/13/2017 – Confirm Inga Bernstein for the District of Massachusetts
On July 30, 2015, President Barack Obama nominated Inga Bernstein, a longtime private practitioner, for a judicial vacancy on the District of Massachusetts. Bernstein is a well qualified, mainstream nominee who enjoys the powerful support of Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. read full story

1/10/2017 – Can Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Be ‘Borked’?
It’s challenging, to say the least, to think of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s plans to place a clone of the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court to fill the panel’s vacant ninth seat. Yet that, in effect, is how Schumer described himself and his colleagues in an interview on January 3rd with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. read full story

1/1/2017 – Will Grassley pick up speed on Trump nominees?
Chuck Grassley is known for his impressive work ethic, for tirelessly answering questions at town halls and for never missing a Senate vote in 23 years. But, our senior senator has hardly been productive in approving judicial nominees as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. read full story

12/13/2016 – U.S. Senate should act on court nominees
With the election of Donald Trump, there appears to be an assumption in many corners that the unprecedented Republican obstruction of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and numerous other Obama nominees to the federal judiciary has somehow been validated. This assumption is wrong for several reasons. read full story

12/11/2016 – While gridlock grinds in Washington, justice suffers in Idaho
To procrastinate is human, but to really lose track of progress and what is right requires a concerted and warped federal government hell-bent on deferring to the politics of gridlock in lieu of justice. read full story

Confirm Gary Richard Brown for the Eastern District of New York
On July 30, 2015, President Barack Obama nominated Gary Richard Brown, who has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of New York since 2011, for a vacancy on that court. read full story

12/8/2016 – Under Trump, the Federal Courts Will Be Up For Grabs
In a recent issue of Judicature, an academic journal for judges published by Duke University Law School, Timothy J. Corrigan, a federal district judge in Florida, reflected on “the most multifaceted, emotional, and challenging task a judge performs ” — sentencing convicted criminal defendants. read full story

12/2/2016 – Confirm Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma
On Dec. 16, 2015, President Barack Obama nominated Scott Palk, who served for nine years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Oklahoma, for a vacancy on that district court. read full story

11/27/2016 – The Republican Assault On The Integrity Of The Supreme Court
Since 1973, I have been a professor of constitutional law. The Supreme Court is at the very center of my professional life. I served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.; I am co-author of one of the nation’s leading constitutional law textbooks; I am an editor of the Supreme Court Review; I have written numerous books and scholarly articles on the Supreme Court; I am editor of a 20-volume series titled Inalienable Rights, which focuses on the meaning of our constitutional rights; and I have taught courses on constitutional law to generations of law students. read full story

11/27/2016 – Senate should confirm Russell so Utahns can get justice they deserve
With the election over, there seems to be more uncertainty over the future of our government than there was before. However, one area of our government in which there should not be uncertainty is the federal judiciary. read full story

11/23/2016 – End delay on judicial nominee
In April, President Barack Obama nominated William Jung — who has specialized in white-collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation in two Tampa Bay area law firms since 1993, after serving six years as an assistant U.S. attorney — for a federal court judge vacancy in the Middle District of Florida. read full story

11/22/2016 – How an Honorable President-Elect Would Deal Now with the Supreme Court Vacancy
No doubt about it: the Republican decision to refuse to confirm any justice that President Obama might name was an entirely illegitimate power play. What they did is completely unprecedented in American history (as a study by legal scholars — who examined over 100 relevant comparable instances — determined). read full story

11/21/2016 – Confirm Florence Pan for D.C. District Court
On April 28, President Barack Obama nominated Florence Y. Pan, who has served as a D.C. Superior Court Judge since 2009, for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Pan is a highly qualified mainstream nominee who enjoys the strong support of D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. read full story

Confirm Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl for the Eighth Circuit
In January, President Barack Obama nominated Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl for a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit, the court that includes Nebraska and six other midwestern states. read full story

11/21/2016 – Federal courts need 94 judges. The Senate should vote on qualified nominees now
Holding open Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacancy on the Supreme Court was a stated goal of Senate Republicans throughout the protracted, divisive federal elections. But it wasn’t only the high court that senators neglected. read full story

11/18/2016 – U.S. Senate should end wait for two Oklahoma judicial nominees
Next month, it will have been a year since Suzanne Mitchell and Scott Palk were nominated to fill judgeships on the U.S. District court for the western district of Oklahoma. It's high time these two qualified candidates be placed on the bench. read full story

11/15/2016 – Confirm Merrick Garland, and end the partisan pettiness over the Supreme Court
Now that the U.S. Senate is back in session, it should hold hearings on and — barring the unlikely emergence of some disqualifying information — approve President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. read full story

11/9/2016 – Judicial stonewalling is damaging democracy
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stated back in February that he would not entertain any Supreme Court nominee named by President Barack Obama. He claimed it would be up to the next president to put forward a Supreme Court nominee. read full story

11/4/2016 – Supreme Court Points the Way Forward
A few months ago something weird happened. Virginia had passed a law aimed at preventing trans students from using the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, and a federal district court had entered a preliminary injunction blocking that law from going into effect. read full story

11/3/2016 – Alexander Hamilton would turn over in his grave
In recent days, several leading Republicans, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Richard Burr, have argued that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, Senate Republicans should refuse to confirm any of her nominees to the Supreme Court. The very suggestion of such a strategy threatens to undermine core principles of our constitutional democracy. read full story

11/1/2016 – What Happens If Republicans Refuse to Replace Justice Scalia?
What’s the opposite of Court-packing? It’s one of those linguistic holes that no one knew existed until the last week. Now it’s time for the wordsmiths to get to work. read full story

10/27/2016 – Justice Denied by Partisan Politics
The dog that did not bark in the 2016 election was the long-delayed nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. In an unprecedented move, the Republican-controlled Senate vowed not to consider Garland, but instead to wait for the next president to select the next court justice. read full story

10/25/2016 – When Supreme Court Appointments Fall Prey To Unprincipled Partisanship
“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” John McCain recently assured Republicans voters. McCain’s “promise” acknowledged what has long been obvious: Senate Republicans have not refused to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination out of their stated belief that a lame duck president should not be permitted to make Supreme Court appointments. read full story

10/18/2016 – Failure to act on Merrick Garland leaves a shorthanded U.S. Supreme Court that harms all Americans
Among my most important roles as chief nominations counsel to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee was to assist home-state senators in selecting qualified men and women to be federal judges in their states. read full story

10/13/2016 – SCOTUS: The Dangerous Empty Seat
For months, Republican Senators have obstinately refused to consider Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. read full story

10/7/2016 – Refusing to take up Garland nomination unacceptable
The U.S. Supreme Court just returned to work after its summer break. And while the justices heard arguments in the first cases of this term, the court is not functioning normally. read full story

10/6/2016 – Justice delayed: Our view

10/6/2016 – What happens to Merrick Garland’s nomination in December?

10/4/2016 – Republican Obstruction Is Undermining The Supreme Court, Enough Is Enough
This week, the Supreme Court returns to work. The Justices will hear important cases on issues ranging from the separation of church and state to intellectual property to Congressional redistricting to the death penalty. read full story

9/28/2016 – Supreme Court vacancy could define its term: Erwin Chemerinsky
For the first time in almost 30 years, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin its new term Monday with only eight justices, and the empty seat on the bench may be what most defines this term. The reality is that the court may go all of this term with only eight justices. read full story

7/19/2016 – Senate puts politics above Constitution
As President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court enters its third month of Senate Republican inaction, a great irony has emerged. The Supreme Court is the nation’s leading institution for interpreting the law. read full story

9/5/2016 – Senate needs to confirm federal judges for SC
No one likes to wait on hold. Unless you are an elevator music enthusiast, putting your life on hold can be difficult, even if just for a few minutes. Yet, our nation’s judicial nominees are waiting for months for the U.S. Senate to pick up the phone. read full story

8/22/2016 – A sworn duty to act: In not holding hearings on Garland, Senate Republicans are causing grave damage to the nation
The refusal of Senate Republicans to allow any hearing on the nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court is a reckless and dangerous act. The senators are shirking their duty to defend and support the Constitution and in the process are causing grave damage to our country. read full story

8/31/2016 – Texas suffers as Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn neglect to appoint judges
The U.S. Senate returns to Washington on September 6 after being in recess for more than seven weeks. Perhaps this long break will allow our senators to return to D.C. refreshed and ready to get work done. read full story

8/14/2016 – Another Voice: Taking the judicial system for granted is folly
The Constitution requires that the Senate give its advice and consent as to federal judicial nominations. By failing to do either, the Senate, in essence, is infringing on the president’s Article II power to nominate candidates and, more importantly, the Judiciary’s Article III power to adjudicate cases and controversies. read full story

8/21/2016 – End logjam of gridlock, fill federal court slots: Where We Stand
An emergency exists in Florida's federal court system and the group responsible for fixing the problem — the U.S. Senate — just yawns and shrugs its collective shoulders. Its no surprise that a branch of Congress is incapable of needed action, but the situation has grown dire. And it's not just Florida that is suffering. read full story

8/22/2016 – Letter: Sweet also deserves a vote on nomination
In her Aug. 14 Another Voice column in The News, Vanessa Glushefski writes of the extreme importance of the U.S. Senate doing its job and providing “advice and consent” on the president’s selection for the U.S. Supreme Court. She is absolutely correct. Merrick Garland has now been waiting longer than any other Supreme Court nominee. read full story

8/5/2016 – Senate Republicans’ inaction puts judiciary in crisis
The American judiciary is in crisis. This crisis, however, is not one of competence or capability. Instead, due to unprecedented inaction from the United States Senate, large swaths of the federal judiciary are simply missing — resulting in excessive delays, exploding dockets and inconsistent application of the law in different parts of the country. read full story

4/4/2016 – The Constitution as a Code of Honor
It would probably delight the late Justice Antonin Scalia to know that the fight over his successor was generating constitutional controversy. Indeed, like many controversies that Justice Scalia fueled, this one concerns not only the implications of particular clauses, but the very nature of constitutional law. read full story

7/19/2016 – More minority federal judges have been appointed under Democratic than Republican presidents
The first black judge to have been appointed by the president to the federal bench was William Henry Hastie, whom Franklin Delano Roosevelt named as a district court judge for the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1937. Harry Truman subsequently nominated Hastie to the appeals court in 1949. Since then, the federal court system – which includes the district, appellate, international trade and Supreme courts – has become increasingly diverse, with more judges who are racial or ethnic minorities. read full story

7/21/2016 – How the G.O.P. Outsourced the Judicial Nomination Process
The massacre of children and teachers in Newtown, Conn., didn’t do it. Neither did the mass murder of worshipers in Charleston, S.C., nor of county employees in San Bernardino, Calif., nor of people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Nor, most likely, will the recent coldblooded murders of police officers persuade the Republicans in Congress to enact even modest measures to make it harder for people to get their hands on weapons of destruction. read full story

7/15/2016 – Decoding the Thurmond Rule
As of today, July 15, 2016, there are currently 84 vacant Article III federal judgeships across the country, with over a dozen more that will come open in the next few months. In other words, approximately one in ten federal judgeships is currently sitting vacant, leading to judicial backlogs in the affected courts. read full story

7/19/2016 – Senate puts politics above Constitution
As President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court enters its third month of Senate Republican inaction, a great irony has emerged. The Supreme Court is the nation’s leading institution for interpreting the law. read full story

7/4/2016 – Federal judicial vacancies in Texas still an emergency
A year ago today on this page, I criticized the troubling obstructionism by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas. They have repeatedly failed to fill vacated seats in our state’s federal appellate and district courts, including their opposition to potential nominations of qualified district judges originally recommended by Republicans. read full story

6/3/2016 – Will eight justices become the new normal?
With 24 cases still to decide this term and only eight justices to decide them, the Supreme Court has mustered all its resources to find (or manufacture) consensus. Many rulings — even those with lopsided majorities — hint strongly of compromise. read full story

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