n the years that Republicans controlled the Judiciary Committee, the preferred method of "rejecting" scores of judicial nominees was to deny them Committee hearings and votes.
More than a dozen of President Clinton's Circuit Court nominees received the American Bar Association's (ABA) unanimous "well-qualified" rating, but their nominations were defeated because their hearings were rejected by Republicans.
The following Circuit Court nominees from 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 are in this category: H. Alston Johnson (5th Circuit), James Duffy (9th Circuit), Kathleen McCree-Lewis (6th Circuit), Enrique Moreno (5th Circuit), James Lyons (10th Circuit), Robert Cindrich (3rd Circuit), Stephen Orlofsky (3rd Circuit), Andre Davis (4th Circuit), James Beaty (4th Circuit), and J. Rich Leonard (4th Circuit).
Allen Snyder (D.C. Circuit), who was also rated "well-qualified" by the ABA, received a hearing but was not allowed a vote by the Republican-controlled Committee.
More than a dozen other Circuit Court nominees with "partial well-qualified" or "qualified" ratings were also defeated by Republicans who blocked their hearings or votes, including Helene White (6th Circuit), Jorge Rangel (5th Circuit), Robert Raymer (3rd Circuit), Barry Goode (9th Circuit), Christine Arguello (10th Circuit), Elizabeth Gibson (4th Circuit), Elana Kagan (D.C. Circuit), James Wynn (4th Circuit), Bonnie Campbell (8th Circuit), Kent Markus (6th Circuit), and Roger Gregory (4th Circuit).
Dozens of District Court nominees from 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 with unanimous "well-qualified" or "qualified" ratings also were blocked by Republican refusal to give them hearings or votes. In all, nearly 60 of President Clinton's judicial nominees were defeated through Republican blocking of hearings and votes, despite their ABA ratings.
Several Republicans Now Complaining About Votes Against Justice Owen Voted Against Clinton Nominees who Received Unanimous "Well-Qualified" Ratings.
Some of President Clinton's judicial nominees who did receive hearings and Committee votes also received "well-qualified" ratings, like Justice Owen, but that did not stop Republicans from voting against them and trying to defeat their nominations. The same Republicans who now claim it is unprecedented to defeat a nominee with a "well-qualified" rating voted against numerous Clinton nominees with that same rating either in Committee, on the floor, or both.
The following nominees with "well-qualified" ratings faced Republican opposition, despite having the rating that Republicans apparently now look to as a reliable indicator of whether a nominee should be confirmed: Judge Rosemary Barkett (Eleventh Circuit), Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Circuit), Judge William Fletcher (Ninth Circuit), Judge Ray Fisher (Ninth Circuit), Judge Marsha Berzon (Ninth Circuit), Judge Sonia Sotomayor (Second Circuit), Judge Margaret McKeown (Ninth Circuit), Judge Richard Paez (Ninth Circuit), Judge Margaret Morrow (Central District of California), Judge Gerald Lynch (Southern District of New York), and Mary McLaughlin (Eastern District of Pennsylvania).
The Democratic-led Judiciary Committee held an open, public hearing for Justice Owen, followed by a public vote.
Justice Owen was the third person nominated to this seat on the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but only the first to be accorded a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. The prior two Clinton nominees for that seat, Enrique Moreno and Jorge Rangel, were blocked from having hearings by Republican obstructionism - despite their "well-qualified" ratings.
Justice Owen was given a full and fair public hearing, and her nomination was debated and voted on in the light of day, in contrast to scores of Clinton judicial nominees.
The Senate has relied on the Judiciary Committee to consider the merits of judicial nominees for nearly 200 years. The Senate relies on the expertise of Committees to evaluate and report (or not report) hundreds of nominations and thousands of bills on important matters, like taxes, national security, and the environment, each year. Democrats have repaired the Judiciary Committee process by according nominees regular hearings and votes.
It is disingenuous for Republicans to now claim that all judicial nominees should get votes on the floor of the Senate after they blocked scores of judicial nominees from ever receiving a Committee hearing or a vote. Democrats repeatedly called for nominees to be given a Committee vote, up or down. Now that judicial nominees are finally receiving due process, Republicans do not like the results.
While only two of President Bush's judicial nominees have been defeated in open votes, nearly 60 of President Clinton's judicial nominees were defeated through secret, anonymous holds and other secretive, non-transparent Republican tactics.