Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
For the Record
State of Judicial Nominations and Ann Donnelly to be a Judge on the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Today, the Senate confirmed the 315th judicial nominee during President Obama’s presidency. This is in contrast to only 291 judicial nominees the Senate had confirmed by this point in 2007, during George W. Bush’s presidency—24 more judicial nominees confirmed than at this point in 2007. With that record, it is hard to see what there is to complain about. But because we continue to hear complaints, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
My colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have you believe there is a vacancy crisis in this country. There is no vacancy crisis. This so-called “crisis” has been manufactured. In fact, 2015 has the lowest average vacancy rate during Obama’s Presidency.
And I would note that this outcry over judges being held up in the Senate is particularly rich, considering that the other side did not seem to care about holding up nominees to the Fourth and Sixth Circuit when President Bush was in office.
As I have said before, the Senate Judiciary Committee is moving at the same pace this year that it did under the Democrat control in 2007 during the last two years of President Bush’s presidency. By this point in 2007, the committee had held nine hearings for a total of 24 nominees (22 judicial nominees and two executive nominees). We have held eight hearings for a total of 25 nominees (five executive nominees and 20 judicial nominees) including hearings for both the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. And tomorrow, the committee will be holding a nominations hearing for four judicial nominees, including two Iowans. That brings our 2015 total to nine nominations hearings for 29 nominees (five executive nominees and 24 judicial nominees).
Furthermore, with respect to those judges on the executive calendar, everyone knows that at the end of last year the Senate rammed through 11 judges, which under regular order, should have been considered at the beginning of this Congress. That is what happened in 2006, when 13 nominations were returned to the President and then renominated in 2007. Had we been able to consider those nominees this year under regular order, the Senate would have confirmed more judges this year.
The Senate is finally back to work after years of stagnation under Democratic leadership. This year alone we have held over one hundred and sixty-five roll call votes on amendments as opposed to last year when the Senate held votes on only fifteen amendments. Rather than complaining about a problem that does not exist, we should focus on solving issues facing hard-working Americans.