Lee Statement on Unneeded Nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

June 4, 2013

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement of three additional nominations to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit:

“The D.C. Circuit is among the most important federal appellate courts in the country, but it is also one of the least busy.  For this reason, both Democrats and Republicans have long agreed that the D.C. Circuit does not need additional judges.  In fact, in 2006, a group of Democratic Senators sent a letter strongly arguing against filling an available seat on the D.C. Circuit.  That letter stated that an additional nominee ‘should under no circumstances be considered—much less confirmed—before we first address the very need for that judgeship.’”

“In 2006, Democrats refused to consider the nomination of Peter Keisler—an eminently qualified nominee who enjoyed bipartisan support—for an open seat on the D.C. Circuit.  Since that time, the D.C. Circuit’s caseload has decreased, making additional judges even less necessary for that court.”

“For this reason, I am an original cosponsor of S.699, the Court Efficiency Act, which will reallocate unneeded judgeships from the D.C. Circuit to other federal appellate courts whose caseloads are many times higher.  The President’s refusal to respect Senate precedent regarding the D.C. Circuit and his opposition to legislation that would distribute judgeships to courts that actually need them makes clear that today’s nominations are nothing more than a political ploy to advance a partisan agenda.”