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Excerpts from the Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, August 1, 2003 (Full Transcript)

QUESTION: How can you say, in the President's statement on the judicial nominees, that vacancies are created? I thought they had confirmed, they say, what, is it 140?

MR. McCLELLAN: There still remain a number of vacancies in our judicial system.

QUESTION: Not as many, apparently, though. I mean --

MR. McCLELLAN: And it still is an issue.

QUESTION: What do you find the merits of the argument on --

MR. McCLELLAN: We need to get these people in place.

QUESTION: We're talking about three vacancies here.

MR. McCLELLAN: And look at these nominees we're talking about, too.

QUESTION: How can you talk about vacancies that are created when you're talking about three nominees?

MR. McCLELLAN: Every nominee -- and these are highly qualified nominees. These are individuals that have strong experience, they understand the importance of interpreting the law, not trying to make law from the bench.

QUESTION: Put aside that argument. How can you claim that it creates --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it's very important that every member, or every nominee --

QUESTION: -- vacancies, when you're talking about three people?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- that every nominee get an up-or-down vote. That's the responsibility the Senate has --

QUESTION: I understand the argument and I'm not arguing --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and that's a responsibility that they need to let go through.

QUESTION: -- with the substance of the statement, only the assertion that it creates vacancies.

MR. McCLELLAN: There are a number --

QUESTION: Three. Three, I think.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, no, there are a number of vacancies out there in the judicial system. We're trying to move forward as quickly as possible, and the Senate has been holding up these --

QUESTION: What do these three nominees have to do with the --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me finish. The Senate has been holding up these nominees for a long period of time. And they need to move forward and give them an up or down vote. We need to put aside all the past -- the politics of the past needs to be put aside, and people need to let these nominees be voted on. These nominees enjoy some strong support.

QUESTION: I'm not questioning the thrust of your argument.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I would submit to you that if they are voted on, that they will be -- the Senate will approve those people.

QUESTION: There will be three less vacancies, yes, but only three.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, there are many more vacancies than that in our judicial system, Bill. I totally disagree with that.

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