Senator Carper Highlights the Urgent Need for the Senate to Swiftly Consider D.C. Judicial Nominees

Today at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee nominations hearing, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) heard from five nominees to serve as Associate Judges on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The nominees include Judge Sherri M. Beatty-Arthur, Judge Rahkel Bouchet, Erin C. Johnston, Ray D. McKenzie, and John C. Truong. With 13 of the 62 judicial positions on the D.C. Superior Court currently vacant, this hearing underscores Senator Carper’s longstanding work to ensure D.C. judicial vacancies are filled in a timely manner so that D.C. courts are fully equipped to serve the nearly 700,000 Americans who live in our nation’s capital.

Senator Carper emphasized the importance of confirming judges to D.C. courts in a timely manner:

“Every time this Committee holds a hearing on D.C. judicial nominees, my colleagues hear me share my concern with extensive judicial vacancies on local D.C. courts. These concerns persist to this day because too many vacancies still plague the district courts. Last month, the Chief Judges of both the D.C. Superior Court and the Court of Appeals sent an open letter to the U.S. Senate urging us to immediately fill the vacancies on both courts. Despite judicial nominees regularly passing out of this Committee, many with bipartisan support, […] there’s frequently still months-long delay before they are confirmed on the Senate floor itself. And as my colleagues have heard me say more than a few times, justice delayed is justice denied.”

Senator Carper also called attention to his District of Columbia Courts Judicial Vacancy Act:

“Only one D.C. judicial nominee has been confirmed this entire Congress. That’s disgraceful. And it’s unacceptable that the local D.C. courts have vacancies that last years because the Senate fails to act in a timely way. The system as it stands is not working. We need to reform it. I introduced the D.C. Courts Judicial Vacancy Reduction Act to do just that, by applying a 60-day congressional review period to D.C. judicial nominees to streamline this nomination process. A faster confirmation process in the U.S. Senate would help with the vacancy crisis and better equip local courts here to serve the people of the District of Columbia.”

A video of Senator Carper’s questions at today’s hearing can be found here.