(Senate - July 28, 2015)

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[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 104 (Tuesday, July 7, 2015)]
[Pages S4660-S4661]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, another glaring deficiency is we are 
certainly ready to help Republicans fulfill their constitutional 
obligations to give due consideration to President Obama's judicial 
nominations and other nominations.
  The Constitution gives the Senate the job to give its advice and 
consent to the President's nominations to the judiciary. So far, the 
Republican leader and his party are failing catastrophically. They are 
intent on delaying important confirmations, even in the face of 
increasing judicial emergencies all over this country.
  Today marks the 182nd day of the 114th Congress. Yet today will be 
our first circuit court nomination. That means for almost 7 months, the 
Republican Senate has not confirmed a single appellate court judge, but 
today we are going to finally consider one, and that is important. We 
will be hopefully confirming the first Latina on the Federal Circuit.
  Kara Farnandez Stoll is well qualified by every measure. Her 
nomination was reported out of the Judiciary Committee months ago. Yet 
no Republican can explain why she has waited this long to have a vote. 
It is all part of a disturbing trend, I am sorry to say, of neglecting 
constitutional duties.
  According to the Congressional Research Service, the new Republican 
Senate has doubled the average time for the confirmation of the first 
circuit judge for any President in the modern era. The new Republican 
Senate is once again making history but for all the wrong reasons. The 
Republican leader and his party are on pace to confirm the fewest 
judicial nominations in half a century.
  President Obama's Federal judges are not getting a fair shake. They 
are bottled up in the Judiciary Committee. They are focused on I don't 
know what in that committee, but it is certainly not moving the 
President's nominations. Nominations are forced to wait longer than in 
past Congresses on the floor.

  I have spoken before about the nomination of one very well-qualified 
person from Philadelphia, Luis Felipe Restrepo--another extremely well-
qualified judge-to-be. The junior Senator from Pennsylvania delayed his 
confirmation by not returning the blue slip to advance his nomination. 
Before we left for the recess, the Judiciary Committee delayed his 
hearing again. Yet the junior Senator from Pennsylvania said he is not 
responsible for the delay because he does not sit on the committee.
  This good man, Luis Felipe Restrepo, has waited far too long. He has 
been nominated to fill a judicial emergency. Judicial emergencies have 
skyrocketed under Republicans' lack of leadership. Justice delayed is 
justice denied. The people of Pennsylvania deserve to have him 
confirmed. So why doesn't the junior Senator from Pennsylvania simply 
ask to confirm Judge Restrepo immediately? I am confident that if that 
happened we would have that matter on the calendar. We could confirm 
Judge Restrepo to the Third Circuit next week if Republicans would quit 
playing games with nominations.
  Time and time again, Democrats have asked for the fair consideration 
of President Obama's judicial nominations. It is not too much to ask 
the new majority to match the numbers of confirmations Democrats gave 
George W. Bush the last 2 years of his administration. By this point, 
Democrats had confirmed 21 of President George W. Bush's judges-to-be. 
President Obama has only had four confirmed to date.
  And according to the senior Senator from Texas, we should not expect 

[[Page S4661]]

change anytime soon. Here is what he said. Speaking of Republicans' 
desire to keep nominations at a trickle, the assistant Republican 
leader said last week: ``It'll be a slow, steady pace.'' The pace 
certainly has been slow, but not steady--more like nonexistent. One 
circuit court nominee in more than 6 months is an embarrassment. That 
puts the Senate on pace to confirm fewer than four circuit court 
nominees this entire Congress. It does not matter that there are 
judicial emergencies all over the country.
  But Republicans' inaction on nominees is not just hurting our 
judicial system; it is also hurting our Nation's ability to combat 
terrorism, including ISIS. One way to help stop ISIS and other 
terrorist organizations is to go after their funding. Republicans know 
that. But listen to this, Mr. President. Since April, Adam Szubin, 
President Obama's nominee to the Department of Treasury as Under 
Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, has remained in limbo. It 
is so important to this country. We have the situation going on with 
Iran. We need people in the Treasury Department to help figure out all 
that is going on in regard to terrorism there and other places in the 
world. Yet Republicans will not confirm this good man. He cannot get a 
vote. And who knows why. Ask Republicans.
  By any objective measure, the Republican Senate is failing in their 
basic constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent. The 
American people deserve better. They deserve a Senate that does its 
work responsibly and completes it on time.
  Mr. President, will the Chair announce the business of the day.