D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is requesting the Senate confirm eight pending judicial appointments at the city level.
Norton has a bill — the District of Columbia Vacancy Reduction Act — that would eliminate the Senate confirmation for local judges. Her bill calls for judicial appointment to take effect after a 30-day congressional review period unless a joint resolution disapproving an appointment is enacted into law during that period.
“The judicial vacancy crisis in the local District of Columbia courts is harming public safety and access to justice in D.C.,” Norton said. “The local D.C. courts regularly face a judicial vacancy crisis, regardless of which party controls the Senate, because both parties prioritize federal judicial and executive branch nominees over local D.C. court nominees, but Republicans have exacerbated the problem this Congress by filibustering nominees to the local D.C. courts. The Senate needs to devote floor time to confirm these nominees.”
The president of the United States nominates D.C. Superior Court and D.C. Court of Appeals judges. The city has a judicial nominating commission that submits three names to the president for consideration.
If the president doesn’t appoint one of the nominees submitted within 60 days of the nomination, the commission will select a nominee and submit it to the Senate. The Senate must confirm nominees to serve on the District’s local bench.
Presently there are 14 vacancies out of the 62 authorized judges on the District’s Superior Court and two vacancies out of nine authorized on the appeals court.
Norton’s bill passed the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last year.