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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 3, 2001


The most fundamental right of American democracy is the right to equal justice under the law. Whenever our citizens knock on the door of justice, they have a right to expect a judge to answer. Unfortunately, too many courts around the country are in a state of emergency because of judicial vacancies. In these places justice is being delayed. The people's appeals are not being heard. That is simply unacceptable. That's why today I renominated eight highly qualified appellate court nominees for vacancies that are considered by the U.S. Judicial Conference to be judicial emergencies.

They are Roger Gregory of Virginia, nominated to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; Judge James Wynn of North Carolina, nominated for the Fourth Circuit; Enrique Moreno of Texas, nominated for the Fifth Circuit; Judge Helene White of Michigan, nominated for the Sixth Circuit -- the longest waiting nominee; Kathleen McCree Lewis of Michigan, nominated for the Sixth Circuit; Bonnie Campbell of Iowa, nominated for the Eighth Circuit; Barry Goode of California, nominated for the Ninth Circuit; and James Duffy of Hawaii, nominated for the Ninth Circuit. Together, these nominees have waited a total of 4,757 days for Senate action -- that's more than 13 years combined. Only one of them has even received a hearing. And two -- the nominees from Hawaii and North Carolina -- are from states with no current representation on the appellate court, even though under federal law every state should have such representation.

It is my sincere hope that we can work with the Senate in a bipartisan spirit to get these nominees confirmed. The qualifications of these nominees are not in question. All of them are highly rated and respected. They also represent the kind of diversity that we all know enhances fairness and confidence in our courts.

In a nation that prides itself in the fair and expeditious rule of law, the people have a right to expect that judicial emergencies are treated with the urgency they demand. So, I urge the new Senate to give these nominees the simple up or down vote they deserve without further delay.