Reiterating the association’s concern about the longstanding vacancy rate of Article III courts, ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III urged Senate leaders to continue to schedule regular floor votes throughout this session on noncontroversial nominees who have strong bipartisan support.
In a June 20 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Robinson noted that with five new vacancies in June and an additional five anticipated for July, the vacancy crisis will worsen without steady action on nominees.
By early July, seventy-seven of the 874 seats on the courts were vacant – a nine percent vacancy rate. Of the 35 pending nominations, four circuit court nominees and 12 district court nominees had garnered Senate Judiciary Committee approval and were waiting for votes by the full Senate.
Particularly concerned that circuit court nominations may fall victim to the presidential election year schedule, Robinson urged the Senate leaders to schedule floor votes on three pending nominees who enjoy strong bipartisan support.