Senate Confirms Iowa District Court Judge
Yesterday, the Senate unanimously confirmed Rebecca Ebinger to be a judge on the Southern District of Iowa, by a vote of 83-0. Now-Judge Ebinger was confirmed pursuant to an agreement under which five district court judges will have been confirmed by the President’s Day recess (an agreement has been reached to vote on the nomination of Leonard T. Strand to the Northern District of Iowa later this week). She is the second woman confirmed to a federal judgeship this year.
Although Judge Ebinger had the strong support of her Republican home-state senators, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst, some conservative commentators argued that she should not have been confirmed — and indeed, are calling for an end to confirmation votes on judges, even though we are not even two months into 2016. This is ludicrous — and the exact opposite of what our courts need to function. There are currently 77 vacancies on the federal bench — 75% more than existed last January — including 32 where the caseloads are so exceptionally high that the seats have been designated judicial emergencies. If the majority in the Senate would permit it, 19 nominees are ready for floor votes. If those 19 nominees were confirmed, the number of vacancies would be reduced by one-fourth.
Seems like that would be the responsible thing to do. Why shouldn’t the rest of the country have the fully-staffed courts that Iowa will shortly enjoy?