Senate Considering Five More Judicial Nominees This Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need to confirm more of the president’s well-qualified nominees:

“This week presents us with more opportunities to make progress on the backlog of qualified nominees who are still awaiting Senate confirmation. We began yesterday by voting to advance an exceptionally well-qualified nominee to the federal judiciary. Daniel P. Collins of California was chosen by President Trump to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit -- and the reasons why are abundantly clear.

“Mr. Collins is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School. He has held clerkships on both the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, for Justice Scalia.

He’s served at the Department of Justice as associate deputy attorney general and as attorney adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel, and he spent four years as an assistant U.S. attorney. And he’s complemented that experience with more than twenty years of well-regarded work in private practice. Mr. Collins has developed a reputation for legal excellence. The American Bar Association rates him well qualified for this new post. Our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee reported him favorably here to the floor. So I hope my colleagues will join me as we vote later today to confirm this fine nominee.

“Following the Collins nomination, we’ll consider four more nominations to district courts around our nation: Howard Nielson of Utah, Stephen R. Clark of Missouri, Carl Nichols of the District of Columbia, and Kenneth Bell of North Carolina. Each has been tapped by the president to fill important vacancies. Collectively, they represent decades of experience in private practice and decades more in public service. And they come before us with the high esteem of their legal peers.

“Take the case of Mr. Nielson, whose nomination we’ll consider first. According to former circuit Judge Michael Luttig, for whom he served as a law clerk, quote, ‘Howard Nielson may well be the single most qualified person to serve on the federal bench that I have ever had the privilege to know.’ It’d be hard to come up with a more unequivocal endorsement. So I hope each of my colleagues will join me in voting in support of Mr. Nielson along with each of the nominees who will follow him this week.

“Now, I’ve noticed that a few of my colleagues across the aisle have expressed some displeasure that the Senate has recently been spending some time on nominations. I’d remind my friends that, not so long ago, thoroughly-qualified district judge nominees were the kind of nominations that would sail through the Senate floor -- by voice vote, and in big groups. Since this particular president was inaugurated in 2017, this Democratic minority has largely taken a different view. They’ve chosen to deploy an unprecedented level of systematic, across-the-board delaying tactics. The effect has been the need for cloture votes and individual consideration for all kinds of uncontroversial nominations where it hadn’t been the Senate’s tradition.

“So, more than two years into this administration, we’re left with too many vacancies still unfilled and a backlog of qualified nominees that need considering. And confirming unobjectionable individuals continues to take more of the Senate’s time than it should. But this obstruction will not deter us. We’ll be here as long as it takes. We will keep confirming highly-qualified nominees to the federal bench. We will keep putting the president’s team in place and giving Americans the government they actually voted for.”