Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
(Senate - June 17, 2004)
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[Pages S6941-S6942] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] EXECUTIVE SESSION ______ NOMINATION OF JAMES L. ROBART TO BE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will now go into executive session to consider nominations. The clerk will report the first nomination. The legislative clerk read the nomination of James L. Robart, of Washington, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington. Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, could I inquire of the Presiding Officer, are these three votes 10 minutes each? The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct. There is 4 minutes of debate equally divided. Who yields time? Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, this afternoon it is my privilege to introduce you to the incredibly talented nominee for a vacancy on the District Court for the Western District of Washington, James Robart. In one sense, today's confirmation vote is a homecoming for Mr. Robart. Early in his career, he served as an aide to Senator Scoop Jackson. I am sure that he would be proud of his accomplishments during a long and productive legal career, and would whole-heartedly endorse his confirmation. Following his public service as a staff member in both Houses, Mr. Robart returned to Washington State, where he has worked as an attorney for the past three decades. During his considerable years of practice in Federal court, he has earned a reputation for fairness and integrity. Mr. Robart's nomination is the result of a bipartisan selection process that has worked very well for Washington State. Members of Washington State's legal community, the White House, and my colleague Senator Patty Murray and I worked together to review a group of applicants. This cooperative approach has produced a number of highly qualified judicial nominees, and [[Page S6942]] I believe it is a sound model for other States. I am confident that James Robart will make an outstanding Federal judge, and that the people of the Western District of Washington will be well-served by his presence on the bench. I am pleased to offer Mr. Robart my full support, and I urge my colleagues to approve his nomination. Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today the Senate considers the nomination of James Robart, to be a United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington. He is a graduate of Whitman College and the Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Robart is currently managing partner at the law firm of Lane Powell Spears Lubersky, LLP, a firm he has worked at for over 30 years. He has handled complex commercial litigation matters including class actions, securities, and employment cases, and has also been involved in counseling clients in the areas of antitrust compliance, employment law, and intellectual property. Mr. Robart's nomination is the product of a bipartisan judicial nominating commission maintained with the White House by Senators Murray and Cantwell. The State of Washington is well-served by its bipartisan judicial nominating commission which recommends qualified, moderate nominees on whom members of both parties can agree. It is difficult to understand why President Bush has opposed similar bipartisan selections commissions and why this one was so hard to establish. They allow Republicans and Democrats to work together to staff an independent judiciary. I thank Senators Murray and Cantwell for their steadfast efforts in maintaining the commission. The Senate just recently confirmed another well-qualified nominee to the District Court for the Western District of Washington, Judge Martinez, and, with today's vote, the Senate will have confirmed four nominees--all the product of the bipartisan commission--to the district courts in Washington. With this confirmation, there will be no further vacancies in the district courts in Washington. I would note that, in proceeding to a vote on Mr. Robart, the Republican leadership has again decided to depart from the order of the Executive Calendar and to skip over the nomination of a non- controversial and well-qualified Hispanic nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Pennsylvania, Juan Ramon Sanchez. That is their choice. I do not want to see the Democrats blamed for any delay in confirmation votes for Hispanics when Republicans have controlled the agenda. With this confirmation we will have confirmed more judges this year than in all of the 1996 session, the last time a President was seeking reelection. With this confirmation and two more today, the Senate will have confirmed a total of 89 judges this Congress and 189 of this President's judicial nominees overall. With 89 judicial confirmations in just a little more than 17 months, the Senate has confirmed more Federal judges than were confirmed during the two full years of 1995 and 1996, when Republicans first controlled the Senate and President Clinton was in the White House. It also exceeds the 2-year total at the end of the Clinton administration, when Republicans held the Senate majority in 1999 and 2000. With 189 total confirmations for President Bush, the Senate has confirmed more lifetime appointees for this President than were allowed to be confirmed in President Clinton's entire second term, the most recent four-year presidential term and more than were confirmed in President Reagan's term from 1981 through 1984. Of course President Reagan is acknowledged as the all-time champ for having appointed more federal judges than any other President in history. I congratulate Mr. Robart and his family on his confirmation. Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I am pleased today to speak in support of James Robart, who has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Mr. Robart has exceptional qualifications for the Federal bench. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1973 where he was the administrative editor of the Georgetown University Law Review, he joined the law firm of Lane, Powell, Moss & Miller, which is now known as Lane Powell Spears Lubersky LLP. Mr. Robart became a partner in that firm in 1980, and subsequently became the comanaging partner and later the sole managing partner--a position that he holds today. During his time at the firm, Mr. Robart has specialized in complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on class actions, securities, and employment law. He brings a wealth of trial experience to the Federal bench after trying in excess of 50 cases to verdict or judgment as sole or lead counsel, and he has been active in the representation of the disadvantaged through his work with Evergreen Legal Services and the independent representation of Southeast Asian refugees. Mr. Robart's impressive credentials are reflected in his unanimous American Bar Association rating of Well Qualified. I am confident that he will be a fine addition to the bench and urge my colleagues to join me in supporting his confirmation. Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, this side is willing to yield all remaining time on all three judges. The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded. Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There is a sufficient second. The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the confirmation of the nomination of James L. Robart, of Washington, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington? The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk called the roll. Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Kerry) is necessarily absent. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? The result was announced--yeas 99, nays 0, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 126 Ex.] YEAS--99 Akaka Alexander Allard Allen Baucus Bayh Bennett Biden Bingaman Bond Boxer Breaux Brownback Bunning Burns Byrd Campbell Cantwell Carper Chafee Chambliss Clinton Cochran Coleman Collins Conrad Cornyn Corzine Craig Crapo Daschle Dayton DeWine Dodd Dole Domenici Dorgan Durbin Edwards Ensign Enzi Feingold Feinstein Fitzgerald Frist Graham (FL) Graham (SC) Grassley Gregg Hagel Harkin Hatch Hollings Hutchison Inhofe Inouye Jeffords Johnson Kennedy Kohl Kyl Landrieu Lautenberg Leahy Levin Lieberman Lincoln Lott Lugar McCain McConnell Mikulski Miller Murkowski Murray Nelson (FL) Nelson (NE) Nickles Pryor Reed Reid Roberts Rockefeller Santorum Sarbanes Schumer Sessions Shelby Smith Snowe Specter Stabenow Stevens Sununu Talent Thomas Voinovich Warner Wyden NOT VOTING--1 Kerry The nomination was confirmed. ____________________