For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 8, 2003
Statement by the President on Judicial Nominees
Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen have been waiting two years for an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Both of these nominees are of the highest integrity and character with tremendous legal experience. Both have been unanimously rated "Well Qualified" by the American Bar Association. Each has the support of a majority of Senators, yet votes on their nominations are being blocked by a minority of Senators who are engaged in simultaneous filibusters. These partisan obstructionist tactics are unprecedented, unacceptable, and inconsistent with the Senate's Constitutional responsibility.
Because of the Senate's failure to hold timely votes, the number of judicial vacancies has become unacceptably high. When the Federal Courts are understaffed, they cannot act in a timely manner to resolve disputes that affect the lives and liberties of Americans.
Mr. Estrada and Justice Owen represent the mainstream of American law and American values, possess extraordinary experience and integrity, and have strong bipartisan support from those who know them best. They will be outstanding circuit judges once they receive a vote and are confirmed.
In recent days, many Senators of both parties have rightly spoken out about the broken confirmation process and reiterated the need for the Senate to ensure timely consideration of judicial nominees. I appreciate their call for the Senate to fulfill its Constitutional responsibility and hold up-or-down votes on all judicial nominees within a reasonable time after nomination.