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Eight Senators and Witnesses Discuss Numerous Detriments of Judiciary Nomination System

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Eight Republican senators and four witnesses joined Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Arlen Specter, R-Penn., Monday to recognize the issue of the slow-moving judiciary confirmation process that has left many qualified nominees without hearings.

“On May 4, 2000, Senator Leahy said it was a myth that judicial nominees are not confirmed during an election year. This is not true,” said Specter.

Specter discussed the number of confirmed judges during some election years. Two judges were confirmed in October of 1988 while six judges were confirmed in October of 1992.

Senator Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. agreed with Specter’s claim.

“Judicial vacancies risk work going undone,” said Dole.

Senator Wayne Allard, R-Colo., expressed his concern that Colorado has 3 vacancies out of its 7 member court.

“If those spots are not filled, there will be an eminent judicial crisis. Colorado residents are asking senators to do our job so the judicial system can do their job,” added Allard.

Senate Republican Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., named two judicial nominees that have not yet been confirmed. Robert Conrad has been waiting for a hearing for 360 days and Steve Matthews has been waiting for 310 days.

“The nominees should be confirmed to help serve the American people,” added Kyl.

Senator John Warner, R-Va., compared the judiciary confirmation process to the story of Romeo and Juliet.

“No one can remember when and how the feud began. But let’s just end it.”

Professor John McGinnis of Northwestern University thanked Specter before sharing his testimony.

“The refusal to hold hearings is not in the best interest of the public,” said McGinnis.

David Bohm of the North Carolina Bar Association agreed that further delay of the confirmation process does more harm than good.

“It’s an unnecessary detriment to the people,” Bohm added.

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