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EXECUTIVE SESSION
(Senate - September 17, 2013)

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[Pages S6486-S6487]
                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

 NOMINATION OF PATRICIA E. CAMPBELL-SMITH TO BE A JUDGE OF THE UNITED 
                     STATES COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS

                                 ______
                                 

NOMINATION OF ELAINE D. KAPLAN TO BE A JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES COURT 
                           OF FEDERAL CLAIMS

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations, 
which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read the nominations of Patricia E. Campbell-Smith, of 
the District of Columbia, to be a Judge of the United States Court of 
Federal Claims, and Elaine D. Kaplan, of the District of Columbia, to 
be a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 30 
minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today, we are voting on 2 nominees to serve 
15-year terms in the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Court 
of Federal Claims is an Article I court that is authorized to hear 
monetary claims that arise from the Constitution, Federal statutes, 
executive regulations, or contracts with the United States. We are 
finally voting on two well-qualified nominees for these positions, but 
we should also be voting on any of the 9 other Article III judicial 
nominees that are pending on the Executive Calendar.
  As I have consistently noted, Senate Republicans have unnecessarily 
and persistently delayed nominees on the floor throughout this 
President's tenure and today's vote is another example. Rather than 
moving these two uncontroversial Article I nominees by unanimous 
consent, we are forced to take up scarce time on the Senate Floor, when 
we know that both of these nominees will be confirmed by overwhelming 
margins. There is no good reason why we could not also vote to confirm 
the consensus and noncontroversial Article III nominees on the 
Calendar. One effect of these unnecessary delays is that for the first 
time in nearly 2 years, our Federal district courts are again facing 
what the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service calls 
``historically high'' vacancies. This means that there are now more 
seats empty on the districts courts than there were during 90 percent 
of the time during the 34 years after the Ford Administration. Despite 
this, judicial nominees languish on the Executive Calendar.
  The two women we are considering today for the Court of Federal 
Claims are highly qualified, and their nominations have been stalled 
unnecessarily. Patricia Campbell-Smith has served as a Special Master 
for the United States Court of Federal Claims since 2005 and as Chief 
Special Master since 2011. Ms. Campbell-Smith previously served as a 
law clerk to Emily Hewitt, chief judge of the United States Court of 
Federal Claims, from 1998 to 2005, as an associate in private practice 
at the firm of Liskow & Lewis from 1993 to 1996, and again from 1997 to 
1998. She served as a law clerk for Judge Sarah Vance of the Eastern 
District of Louisiana from 1996 to 1997, and for Judge Martin Feldman 
of the same court from 1992 to 1993.
  Elaine Kaplan is currently the General Counsel for the U.S. Office of 
Personnel Management, and has served as the Acting Director of the 
Office of Personnel Management since April 2013. She previously served 
as Senior Deputy General Counsel and in other legal capacities for the 
National Treasury Employees Union from 2004 to 2009, and as the Senate-
confirmed head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel from 1998 to 2003. 
From 2003 to 2004, Ms. Kaplan served in private practice as a counsel 
at Bernabei and Katz PLLC. She has also served as a staff attorney for 
the State and Local Legal Center in Washington, D.C., and as an 
attorney with the Office of the Solicitor of the U.S. Department of 
Labor. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported these nominations to the 
Senate by voice vote on June 6, 2013.
  As we vote on these nominees today, it is also important that we 
begin taking steps to address the urgent needs of our Federal 
judiciary. Last week, Senator Coons chaired a hearing before the 
Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts to consider these urgent 
needs. At that hearing, we heard testimony from a Federal judge from 
the District of Delaware, who stated that while she loved her job, she 
felt sorry for the judges who were just coming on because of the 
daunting caseload that many of these judges would be facing. A law firm 
partner testifying on behalf of the American Bar Association explained 
that the shortage of judges and resources were leading to harmful 
delays in resolving cases brought by individual civil litigants and 
businesses.
  These delays have a real life impact on the American people and the 
economy. It does not benefit anyone if litigants have their cases 
delayed for months and months because our Federal courts are 
understaffed. When an injured plaintiff sues to help cover the cost of 
his or her medical expenses, or when two small business owners disagree 
over a contract, they should not have to wait years for a court to 
resolve their dispute. Americans are rightly proud of our legal system 
and its promise of access to justice and speedy trials. This promise is 
embedded in our Constitution.
  Sequestration has also had an especially damaging impact on the 
Federal judiciary. I continue to hear from judges and other legal 
professionals about the serious problems that sequestration presents. 
Chief Justice John Roberts said in July that these cuts ``hit [the 
judiciary] particularly hard . . . When we have sustained cuts that 
means people have to be furloughed or worse and that has a more direct 
impact on the services that we can provide.'' We must look to 
streamline our Federal budget wherever we can, but we should do so with 
care and not simply cut indiscriminately across the board. The Federal 
judiciary's budget takes up substantially less than 1 percent of the 
entire Federal budget. That is correct. We have the benefit of the 
greatest justice system in the world for less than 1 percent of our 
budget. Yet, we refuse to provide this co-equal branch with the 
adequate resources it needs. Let us work to reverse the senseless cuts 
to our legal system from sequestration so that we can help our coequal 
branch meet the Constitution's promise of justice for all Americans.
  The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I yield back all time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, all time is yielded back.


                   Vote on Campbell-Smith Nomination

  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination 
of Patricia E. Campbell-Smith, of the District of Columbia, to be a 
Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims?
  The nomination was confirmed.


                       Vote on Kaplan Nomination

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is now on the Kaplan nomination.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination 
of Elaine D. Kaplan, of the District of Columbia, to be a Judge of the 
United States Court of Federal Claims?
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Montana (Mr. Baucus) is 
necessarily absent.

[[Page S6487]]

  I further announce that, if present and voting, the Senator from 
Montana (Mr. Baucus) would vote ``aye.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Heitkamp). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 64, nays 35, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 202 Ex.]

                                YEAS--64

     Alexander
     Baldwin
     Begich
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Boxer
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Chambliss
     Chiesa
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Hirono
     Isakson
     Johnson (SD)
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Levin
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCain
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Portman
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Rockefeller
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--35

     Ayotte
     Barrasso
     Boozman
     Burr
     Coats
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Enzi
     Fischer
     Flake
     Graham
     Grassley
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Johanns
     Johnson (WI)
     Kirk
     Lee
     McConnell
     Moran
     Paul
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rubio
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Thune
     Toomey
     Vitter
     Wicker

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     Baucus
       
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motions to 
reconsider are considered made and laid on the table, and the President 
will immediately be notified of the Senate's action.

                          ____________________




    

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