**FILE** Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Courtesy of National Newspaper Publishers Association)
**FILE** Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Courtesy of National Newspaper Publishers Association)

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is not happy that the U.S. Senate adjourned until Nov. 14 without addressing the problem of judicial vacancies in the District of Columbia’s court system.

In the District, the president selects Superior Court and D.C. Court of Appeals judges. All D.C. judges must be approved by the Senate.

There are 14 vacancies out of the 62 authorized judges in the Superior Court and two vacant positions in the Court of Appeals out of nine that are authorized.

“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 courts. The Senate must devote more time to confirming local D.C. judges or Congress must pass my bill to expedite the approval process for local judges.”

Norton has a bill — the District of Columbia Courts Vacancy Reduction Act — that would eliminate the Senate confirmation of local District judges but instead would allow judicial appointments to take effect after a 30-day congressional review period unless a joint resolution disapproving an appointment is passed.

Last year, Norton’s bill passed the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

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