Voters who despised the government shutdown and threats of driving America into national default, caused by recent extremism of Republicans in Washington, will equally despise the judicial shutdown caused by Republicans in Texas and the U.S. Senate.
When Texas Republican senators refuse to suggest nominees to fill judicial vacancies for federal judicial posts serving Texas, and when Senate Republicans use obstructionist tactics and filibuster abuses to refuse to confirm highly qualified judicial nominees proposed by President Obama, the result is a judicial shutdown that destroys justice and harms all Americans.
Justice delayed is justice denied. Deliberately not filling judicial vacancies is an attack against justice by design. Every Texan and every American should watch the recent of testimony of Nan Aron, President of the Alliance for Justice, before the panel convened by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).
Aron's testimony can be found at AFJ.org or C-SPAN.org. She details at length the damage to justice of the latest shutdown and Republican obstruction, and she emphasizes how Texas in particular has an outrageous number of judicial vacancies because the two Texas senators have established a judicial selection commission that has failed to interview and suggest possible judicial nominees. As Aron states in her testimony there are now nine Texas federal judicial vacancies, six of which constitute judicial emergencies. Similar problems exist in states that are represented by conservative GOP senators. A national judicial shutdown has been pursued by Senate Republicans with repeated filibusters against highly qualified nominees proposed by the president.
After strong leadership from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), there has been some progress in the Senate, but all pending nominees should be approved and no filibusters should be tolerated any further.
When cases are backlogged in federal court and nominees are not confirmed by Senate Republicans, and when Cruz, Cornyn and other GOP senators create selection panels that are designed to prevent judicial selection, the result is indeed a form of judicial shutdown.
Texans and citizens in other states are grievously harmed by these judicial shutdown tactics. Conservative litigants are harmed along with liberals, libertarians, veterans, small business, farmers, women, minorities, law enforcement and everyone seeking justice in federal courts. If necessary, the blue-slip practice in the Senate that gives senators power to obstruct judicial nominations through bogus selection panels, which was not created by the Constitution and represents a courtesy that has been abused, should be ended.
The rules of the Senate should be reformed if pending nominations continue to be obstructed. Cruz can amuse himself in GOP primaries, but should not be allowed to undermine and abuse justice in Texas, and all Republicans should join Democrats to end the judicial shutdown.