Monday, March 07, 2011

741 days

That's how long Judge Hurley has been waiting for Kathy Williams to be confirmed and take over his seat. The Sun-Sentinel covers the story:

"One of the great concerns for the court as an institution is that over time we'll have other vacancies, and if the vacancies aren't filled in a timely manner," legal logjams eventually will prevent people from getting their day in court, he said.
With two of his colleagues - U.S. District Judges Alan Gold in January and Paul Huck in July - joining him on what is known as senior status, his concern is more than academic.

The glacial speed of the U.S. Senate's judicial confirmation process, blamed on partisan politics, has hobbled courts throughout the country.
Among local attorneys, the conclusion seems obvious: "It's just partisan politics," Val Rodriguez said.

Miami attorney Neal Sonnett, a former president of the American Judicature Society, which focuses on promoting an independent judiciary, agreed. Last year Republican senators blocked the confirmation process, hoping they would seize control of the Senate in the November elections, he said. Now it appears some are intent on stalling nominations until after the 2012 elections, when they hope to put one of their own back in the White House, he said.

So far, attorneys said they haven't seen lengthy delays in getting cases heard and resolved in South Florida. Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno said the district is lucky because seven senior judges still handle some cases. Further, Hurley said, case filings have slowed, in part, because of the economy.

While he credits the 15 full-time judges with moving cases quickly, attorney Ted Babbitt says eventually something has to give.

"The average person is going to get hurt because they're going to have to wait to have their cases heard," he said.

In other news:

--Maybe trial lawyers should try this on game day.

--The sentencing fight over how much time former Judge Jack Camp should get is probation or a whopping 15 days.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to nap before my next trial, not so I can get ready for the killer cross-over but for the killer cross. The Cross-Master

Anonymous said...

It took 512 of those days for Obama to even nominate Williams. Tough to blame the Senate generally or Republicans specifically for slow-walking a nomination that doesn't even exist yet.

Johnny Exchange said...

Unfortunate, but as long as the courts are used to promote or overturn questionable laws, this will never end. It's the system we have, put in place to make things move slowly... pretty good if it's your team winning.