Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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President Obama has more judicial nominees confirmed in first 5 months of 5th year of Presidency than President Bush did in the entire 5th year of his presidency

Jun 13, 2013


President Obama has more judicial nominees confirmed in first 5 months of 5th year of Presidency than President Bush did in the entire 5th year of his presidency


Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

On the Nominations of

Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro, to be United States District

Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,

Jeffrey L. Schmehl, to be United States District Court Judge

for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Mr. President,

    Before we vote on the nominees today, I want to update my colleagues on where we stand with judicial confirmations.  After today, the Senate will have confirmed 195 lower court nominees; we have defeated two.  That’s 195-2.  That is an outstanding record.  Who can complain about achieving 99 percent?   


    So far this year, the Senate has confirmed 22 lower court nominees.  Today, after these nominees are confirmed, we will have confirmed more than twice the number of District and Circuit judges that were confirmed at this point in President Bush’s second term.  In fact, we will have confirmed more lower-court nominees than were confirmed in the entire first year of President Bush’s second term.       

    

    Think about that – I will repeat it.  In the five months of this President’s second term while we have been in session, we have confirmed more District and Circuit Judges than were confirmed in the entire first year President Bush’s second term.


    Mr. President, the bottom line is that the Senate is processing the President’s nominees exceptionally fairly.  He is being treated much more fairly than Senate Democrats treated President Bush in 2005.


    So I just wanted to set the record straight before we vote on these nominees. I expect they will both be confirmed and I congratulate them on their confirmations.


    Judge Quiñones received her B.B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico in 1972 and her J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 1975. Upon graduation, she worked as a staff attorney with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she focused on strictly civil and administrative matters, appearing predominately in family court and before administrative judges.


From 1977 – 1979, Judge Quiñones wrote opinions in support of decisions rendered by an Administrative Judge at the Department of Health & Human Services. From 1979 – 1991, she was a staff attorney at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where here practice involved the interpretation and application of the VA’s administrative rules and regulations. During this time, she also appeared in state court and administrative agencies to represent the VA before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Merit Systems Protection Board. Additionally, from 1980 – 1991, Quiñones worked as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Center at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, designed to dispose of small civil cases. In 1991, Judge Quiñones left the VA and established a solo practice.  During this time she represented a criminal defendant and sat as an arbitrator in insurance matters.  


As a practicing attorney, Judge Quiñones appeared in court with occasional frequency. She estimates that over the course of her pre-judicial career, she tried 20 cases in family court, 300 commitment hearings before a Mental Health officer (pursuant to her work at the VA), and 600 administrative hearings.

 

In 1990, Judge Quiñones was nominated by then Governor Robert Casey to a judgeship on the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, a court of general jurisdiction. She was confirmed, but also engaged in a judicial election, and secured the first of three 10-year terms in 1992 (She won the later terms in November 2001 and 2011).


Judge Quiñones has experience in both criminal and civil divisions, has presided over both jury and nonjury trials, and has supervised nearly every step in the trial process. Judge Quiñones has presided over approximately 1,500 criminal trials and 300 civil trials.


The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave her a Majority “Qualified” and Minority “Not Qualified” rating.


Judge Schmehl received his B.A. from Dickinson College in 1977 and his J.D. from University of Toledo School of Law in 1980. Early in his career, he focused on criminal law, first as an Assistant Public Defender, then as an Assistant District Attorney. In these capacities, he tried all types of criminal cases, from DUI to murder. During his time as Assistant District Attorney, Judge Schmehl also had his own private civil practice, handling wills, estates, real estate matters, workers’ compensation cases, and unemployment compensation cases.


    In 1986, Judge Schmehl left private practice and the District Attorney’s office to join the private law firm Rhoda, Stoudt, & Bradley. There he worked on insurance defense work and plaintiffs’ personal injury cases. As a practicing attorney, he has tried approximately 200 cases to verdict, judgment, or final decision, serving as sole counsel or chief counsel in almost all of them.


    In 1997, Judge Schmehl was nominated by both the Democratic and Republican parties for a judicial position in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas and later elected to the bench.  In 2007, he was appointed to a five-year term as President Judge in the same court and remains there today. Judge Schmehl has presided over approximately 180 cases that have gone to verdict.


The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave him a Majority “Well Qualified” and Minority “Qualified” rating.


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