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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 9, 2000


Today, the Senate finally confirmed, after four years, Judge Richard Paez and, after two years, Marsha Berzon to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Both of these candidates bring extraordinary experience and diversity to the bench, both received the American Bar Association's highest rating, both were approved by solid bipartisan majorities today, but unfortunately both were forced to wait far too long to receive votes.

This week, the Senate also confirmed Judge Julio Fuentes of New Jersey, who becomes the first Hispanic to serve on the Third Circuit. Judge Fuentes had to wait a year for his vote, but when it finally came, he was approved unanimously by a vote of 93 to 0.

I want to thank the Senate for moving this process forward. But I want to repeat that dozens of qualified judicial nominees still await confirmation. Meanwhile, caseloads rise and backlogs mount. These fine Americans have offered themselves to serve our country -- and they are entitled to an up or down vote. Election year politics should not be used as an excuse to slow down the confirmation process.

This is a good day for our country. But we must keep going. It's what our nominees deserve and what justice demands.