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New Report Spotlights Texas' Judicial Vacancy Crisis

In Texas, 12 of our federal court seats don't have a judge. A new report co-authored by Progress Texas details the impact those vacancies have on our state.

In Texas, 12 of our federal court seats don't have a judge - far more than any other state in the country. Nine of those vacancies qualify as "emergency vacancies" - which means the delays are of extraordinary length and creating a back-up in the courts.

The latest report from the Center for American Progress, co-authored by Progress Texas, carefully details the impact those vacancies have on the people of Texas.

From the El Paso Times, which featured the report:

By not pressing for hearings to confirm nominees to the federal bench in Texas, Republican U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are exacerbating a backlog in the courts and obstructing Texans’ access to justice...

Republicans have been accused of slow-walking appointments to the federal bench in the hope that a Republican is elected president in November. That would allow judges to be nominated who are more conservative than those who would get the nod from President Barack Obama.

As we've previously written, Sen. Cornyn has put forward five nominees for some of the vacancies. However, more than 50 days since those names were submitted, both Cornyn and Cruz have done nothing to ensure their judges have a hearing or confirmation.

The report calls on Senators Cornyn and Cruz to take three specific actions if they want to help end the crisis:

  1. Sens. Cornyn and Cruz should step up their pace and work with the White House to choose nominees for the remaining 7 empty seats;
  2. Sens. Cornyn and Cruz should recommend judges who add much-needed diversity to the bench; and
  3. Sens. Cornyn and Cruz should hold their colleagues in the Senate leadership accountable and ask them to conduct hearings and hold votes for the five current nominees, as well as Supreme Court justice nominee Judge Garland.

To read our full report, click here.