Senate Judicial Confirmation Hearing: GOP Senate Vote for Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo Delayed Further?
The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary has finally scheduled an executive meeting for a vote on Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the Judiciary Committee announced the vote on the agenda, an actual vote on President Barack Obama's judicial nominee is not guaranteed.
Restrepo, currently serving for the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, was nominated by Obama last November to fill an emergency vacant seat on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Judiciary Committee finally announced its hearing for Restrepo on June 10, following criticisms from Democrats and progressive groups. Two weeks later, the Judiciary Committee announced a vote could occur on June 25.
"But with very, very few exceptions, President Obama's judicial nominees have learned that being scheduled for a committee vote is not a guarantee that the vote will happen," wrote Paul Gordon, senior legislative counsel for People For the American Way (PFAW). "In fact, once Obama became president, Republicans exercised the right of the minority party to have a committee vote 'held over' (delayed) by at least a week without cause in all but 12 instances for President Obama's judicial nominees, which is an unprecedented abuse of the rules. They have continued this practice as the majority party."
Gordon called for Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Penn., to push for a committee vote this week. If a vote does not actually occur on Thursday, then Restrepo's committee vote could be delayed by at least two weeks due to the congressional Independence Day recess.
"If Sen. Toomey really supports Judge Restrepo, he'll ask the committee not to delay its vote," said Gordon in a statement to Latin Post. "That's what senators do for people they support."
As Latin Post reported, Toomey has been criticized for delaying Restrepo's nomination process. Toomey had praised Obama's nomination of Restrepo last November, but he waited several months to send his approval to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Toomey stated he was waiting until the Judiciary Committee completed its background check on Restrepo, even though the he also received a background check in 2013 during the nomination process for the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
For Restrepo's June 10 hearing, Toomey introduced him and commended his work. Toomey's praise continued on social media, with the tweet, "Judge Restrepo will make a superb addition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia."
Restrepo is not the only Latino waiting for Senate approval. Kara Farnandez Stoll, while she did pass the Judiciary Committee's vote last April, still waits on the U.S. Senate's final vote. Obama nominated Stoll on the same November day as Restrepo, but for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. If approved, she would fill the vacant seat previously held by Judge Randall Rader, who resigned in June 2014.