For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 16, 2004
President's Statement on Appointing Judge Charles Pickering to Fifth Circuit Appeals Court
Today I was proud to exercise my constitutional authority to appoint Judge Charles W. Pickering to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge Pickering has served with distinction as a United States District Judge since he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 1990. He is highly qualified to serve on the Court of Appeals and has widespread bipartisan support from those who know him best.
For the past two and a half years, Judge Pickering has been waiting for an up-or-down vote in the Senate. A bipartisan majority of Senators supports his confirmation, and if he were given a vote, he would be confirmed. But a minority of Democratic Senators has been using unprecedented obstructionist tactics to prevent him and other qualified individuals from receiving up-or-down votes. Their tactics are inconsistent with the Senate's constitutional responsibility and are hurting our judicial system.
As a result of today's recess appointment, Judge Pickering will fill a seat on the Fifth Circuit that has been designated a judicial emergency. He will perform a valuable service on a court that needs more judges to do its work with the efficiency the American people deserve and expect. Again I call on the Senate to stop playing politics with the American judicial system and to give my nominees the up-or-down votes they deserve.