Vacant: Texas Federal Judiciary; Cornyn Says They're Trying

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Our long national nightmare of an empty federal judiciary is finally over.

Gotcha.  Texas still has seven vacancies in federal judgeships in the state.  Two of those slots have been empty for 1,046 days and 1,745 days, respectively.  To put that into perspective, the United States was in World War II for just over 1,300 days.

In March, Republican obstruction forced President Obama to withdraw one of his nominationsfor federal judge in D.C.  In April, his nomination of the eminently qualified Sri Srinivasan to the same court in D.C. went nowhere.

In late April, Senators Cornyn and Cruz of Texas established a 35-person committee to review candidates interested in seeking federal appointments in Texas, including appointments to the federal judiciary. Never mind that there are already committees set up for this purpose, making an already tortuous process even more so.

Texas nominations aren't making national headlines like the two recent nominations to the federal appeals court in D.C. for this one very simple reason: there aren't any.

And John Cornyn would have you believe that President Obama is the cause behind that lack of appointments. The Huffington Post reported Thursday that, in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Cornyn attempted to make the case for more immigration judges in Texas.  

To see how he fared, read below the jump.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island stopped him in his tracks:

“Whitehouse questioned why the Senate should add more immigration judgeships in Texas if Cornyn isn't trying to fill empty district court slots there.

“I don't see why you need additional judges when there have been multiple vacancies that have been left without nominees for years,” Whitehouse said. “I have an issue with that.”

Cornyn insisted that the Senate could not take any action until the President first nominated someone.  And that's when Patrick Leahy of Vermont weighed in:

“Based on 38 years experience here, every judgeship I've seen come through this committee during that time has followed recommendations by the senators from the state,” Leahy said. “You have to have recommendations from the senators, especially since I've been chairman, because … as the senator from Texas knows, if senators have cooperated with the White House and the White House sends somebody they disagree with … I have not brought the person forward, even when it's been importune to do so by the White House.”

Cornyn apparently responded that they were working on it.  

Uh-huh.  

1,745.  1,046.  We're in this for the duration.  War bonds, anyone?

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