Again, we are moving forward under the regular order and procedures of the Senate. This year, we have been in session for about 35 days, including today. During that time we will have confirmed 14 judges. That is an average of better than one confirmation for every 3 days. With the confirmations today, the Senate will have confirmed nearly 75 percent of President Obama’s Article III judicial nominations.
Despite the progress we are making, we still here complaints about the judicial vacancy rate. We are filling those vacancies. But again, I would remind my colleagues that of the 81 current vacancies, 47 have no nominee. That is 58 percent of vacancies with no nominee.
So, I have to respond to the complaints that we hear in the Senate or from the White House that somehow the Senate is not moving fast enough on nominations. You can’t have a vote in the United States Senate to fill some vacancy where there’s no nominee up here from the President of the United States. If the President of the United States wants us to act any further, he needs to get the job done – get the nominees up here. So, of course, as you can tell, I’m growing a bit weary of the vacancy rate being blamed on Senate Republicans.
I have spoken on numerous occasions about the seriousness with which I undertake the advice and consent function of the Senate, as I know we all do. Our inquiry of the qualifications of nominees must be more than intelligence, a pleasant personality, an inspirational life story, or a prestigious clerkship.
When I became ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, I articulated my standards for judicial nominees. I want to ensure that the men and women who are appointed to a lifetime position in the federal judiciary are qualified to serve. Factors I consider important include intellectual ability, respect for the Constitution, fidelity to the law, personal integrity, appropriate judicial temperament, and professional competence.
In applying these standards, I have demonstrated good faith
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