Confirm Mark Young for the Central District of California
© Getty Images

On July 16, 2015, President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFormer Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Amanda Gorman captures national interest after inauguration performance Riding to the rescue on climate, the Biden administration needs powerful partners MORE nominated Mark Young, who has served as a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge since 2008 and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California over ten years before that, for a vacancy on the Central District. Young is a well qualified, mainstream nominee who enjoys the powerful support of California Democratic Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing Justice Dept. closes insider trading case against Burr without charges MORE and Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerTrump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Questions and answers about the Electoral College challenges MORE. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Young on Nov. 5, 2015 without dissent. However, the nominee languished on the floor ever since, principally due to GOP leaders’ refusal to allow his confirmation debate and vote. Because Young is an experienced, consensus nominee and the Central District needs this vacancy filled, the Senate must promptly conduct his final debate and vote.

The Central District presently has four vacancies in 29 active judgeships. This means that the court lacks fourteen percent of its active judicial cohort, which frustrates prompt, inexpensive and fair dispute resolution. Because criminal prosecutions receive precedence under the Speedy Trial Act, litigants participating in civil suits experience difficulty securing trial dates and concluding their litigation. Deciding cases without one seventh of the judgeships authorized concomitantly places increased pressure on the court’s jurists.

ADVERTISEMENT

In July 2015, the President nominated Young. Obama praised his excellent legal career, expressing confidence that he would “serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.” The White House press release observed that Young had “served as a Judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court since 2008” and was a Central District of California Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1998 until 2008.

However, the Judiciary Committee only conducted Young’s hearing on Oct. 21, 2015. The California senators introduced him at the session, praised Young’s strong qualifications, and called for prompt Senate confirmation. That hearing proceeded well, and the members who asked questions seemed satisfied with Young’s answers. On Nov. 5, the panel approved him on a voice vote with little discussion and no controversy.

Since November of last year, Young languished on the floor awaiting a final debate and vote. Senate Republican leaders maintained they were restoring the upper chamber to “regular order.” Nevertheless, Young and many other well qualified, mainstream nominees have waited months for debates and votes. Feinstein and Boxer requested a prompt floor ballot, yet Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-KY.), the Majority Leader, did not set it. A few Democratic senators sought unanimous consent to vote on Young and nineteen remaining district nominees who need final votes, but Republicans objected. If the GOP had followed regular order, Young would have secured a floor ballot long ago. However, on Saturday, the chamber recessed until the new Senate convenes on Jan. 3. Once it assembles, Obama should promptly renominate Young, the panel ought to quickly reapprove the nominee and the Senate must confirm him.   

It is past time for the Senate to consider Mark Young. He is a fine, consensus nominee whom both California senators support. Moreover, the district must have all of its active judges to deliver justice. The Central District judiciary and individuals and businesses litigating in federal court deserve a full bench, while Young merits a final vote. Thus, senators must immediately approve him.

Carl Tobias is the Williams Chair in Law at the University of Richmond.


The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.