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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia March 10, 2016
Jeff Sessions, R-AL
"The next year, the Supreme Court decided McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky. This case involved a challenge to the placement of the Ten Commandments on the walls inside two Kentucky courthouses. By a vote of 5-to-4, the Supreme Court held that the placement of the Ten Commandments inside of courthouses was a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Justice Scalia dissented. He wrote that:"
Executive Session February 11, 2016
Patrick Leahy, D-VT
"Since Republicans took over the majority last January, they have allowed votes on just 15 nominees. In stark contrast, at this point in the last 2 years of the Bush Presidency in 2008, when Senate Democrats were in the majority, we had confirmed 40 judicial nominees. Senate Republicans’ obstruction has resulted in judicial vacancies soaring across the country—rising by more than 75 percent. Judicial vacancies deemed to be “emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts because caseloads in those courts are unmanageably high has nearly tripled in that time. Senate Democrats worked hard to reduce these judicial emergency vacancies to 12, but under Republican leadership, they have now risen to 32. There is an urgent need for the Senate to confirm highly qualified nominees who will get to work in Federal courthouses across the country where justice for too many Americans has been delayed. Judge Strand will fill just one of these emergency vacancies. There are dozens more to fill."
Executive Session January 11, 2016
Patrick Toomey, R-PA
"Again, I thank Senator Casey for the very constructive working relationship we have developed to make sure that the people of Pennsylvania are able to access justice in a sensible and efficient fashion. Because we have worked closely together, not only have we filled these vacancies, but we have filled courthouses—Federal courthouses meant to house Federal judges—that have been vacant for years. As a result, Reading, PA, now has a Federal judge serving in that courthouse. People in the surrounding area of Williamsport, PA, had to drive great distances to get to a Federal court, and now there is a judge serving in Williamsport. Easton, PA—likewise, the people in North Hampton County who had to drive all the way to Philadelphia to have a case dealt with can now do that in Easton. I think, and I hope, we are close to filling an empty courthouse in Erie, PA. Erie is kind of by itself out there in the northwest corner of our great State, and there ought to be Federal judge in the Erie courthouse. We are well in the process of making sure that there will be, and I am sure it will come to a close soon."
State And Local Cyber Protection Act Of 2015 December 10, 2015
Will Hurd, R-TX
"The need to address cybersecurity at the State and local levels is of the utmost importance. From our local DMV offices and courthouses to our critical infrastructure, the exploitable vulnerabilities and possible consequences are alarming."
Executive Session October 26, 2015
Patrick Leahy, D-VT
"Next week marks the 11th month that Republicans have been in the majority in the Senate. During that time, only nine judicial nominees have been confirmed. When Senate Democrats were in the majority during the last 2 years of the Bush Presidency, we had already confirmed 34 judges by this same time. The glacial pace at which Republicans are currently confirming judicial nominees is an inexcusable failure to carry out the Senate’s constitutional duty of providing advice and consent. It also has real and dire consequences for hard-working Americans who seek justice but instead encounter lengthy delays in the Federal court system due to empty courthouses and overburdened courts. We can and should take action right now to alleviate this problem by holding confirmation votes on the rest of the 13 judicial nominees pending on the floor. A number of these pending nominees have the support of their Republican home State Senators; yet they continue to languish on the calendar without a vote."

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