Dear Editor: Regardless of one’s reaction to Harold Meyerson’s column, “Newt’s war on judges an overreach,” everyone should agree that lack of federal judges means that justice delayed continues to be justice denied.
First, as described in my Aug. 10 letter, it is still true that Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson is the “only freshman GOP senator blocking own state’s judicial nominees.” Indeed, with the support of other freshmen Republican senators from five states, the Senate has confirmed all 10 of the other nominees for judgeships that President Obama re-submitted after the senators were elected.
In contrast, despite nonpartisan and bipartisan criticism, Johnson blocked Senate hearings for Victoria Nourse (7th Circuit Court of Appeals) and Louis Butler (Western District of Wisconsin), and forced the nominations to be returned to the president.
Second, unnamed Republican senators’ unexplained and unjustifiable objections repeatedly have prevented floor votes on consensus judicial nominees, including many who were approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee.
As a result, the federal judgeship vacancy rate unacceptably remains stuck at about 10 percent, despite calls to fill empty seats from Supreme Court justices, the American Bar Association and others.
staff attorney, Judging the Environment, Defenders of Wildlife