After a four-week pause in considering nominees for the federal bench, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote next week on two nominees for district court.
The votes will mark the first consideration of any judicial picks since May 19, when Republicans led a successful filibuster against Goodwin Liu for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Liu later withdrew his nomination.
Up for consideration on Tuesday will be two nominees for U.S. District Court in New Jersey who have not drawn organized opposition. Claire Cecchi is a former Newark litigator who’s been a federal magistrate since 2006. Esther Salas is a former assistant federal public defender who’s also been a magistrate since 2006. President Barack Obama nominated them on Dec. 1.
Liberal legal groups have been pushing the White House and Senate Democrats to move quickly on filling judicial vacancies, especially as the next presidential election year approaches. This month, the Alliance for Justice released a report (PDF) showing that Obama continues to lag behind his recent predecessors in getting appointees onto the bench.
There are 89 vacancies on federal district and circuit courts, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That’s down from 97 vacancies on Jan. 1.