HRC Blog

HRC Attends White House Summit on Crisis in the Courts

The judiciary has played an integral role in the pursuits of the LGBT community, and will continue to do so. Court decisions have made it possible for us to form relationships, get married in certain jurisdictions and be protected by hate crimes laws. While we work to ensure that fair-minded judges are being appointed to our nation’s courts, HRC is also concerned about the judicial vacancy crisis that is currently occurring across the nation.

On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign was among 150 advocacy organizations and advocates from across the country that President Obama invited to participate in a summit to discuss the issue of the federal judicial vacancy crisis. There are currently 79 vacancies on the federal bench and 17 additional vacancies will occur this year. There are 37 judicial emergencies nationwide, meaning there are not enough judges on the bench to hear cases that come before those courts. In these jurisdictions, justice is being delayed – and justice delayed is justice denied.

Why do these vacancies exists? Partisan politics. Well-qualified nominees are being approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee but they are left pending on the Senate floor, waiting for an up-or-down vote. Some of these nominees have waited nearly a year for a vote. On average they have waited more than four times longer than President Bush's confirmed nominees. Senators must stop playing politics and confirm well-qualified judges.

HRC joined 29 national organizations on Monday to call for an immediate end to the persistent and destructive obstruction of the President’s judicial nominees by members of the Senate.

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