Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Judicial Nominee Log-Jam

Obstruction Ahead sign
A message from PFAW: 
Yesterday, the Senate struck an agreement to confirm three of the president's judicial nominees. A good start, but Americans are in desperate need of more, and speedy, action by the Senate to perform one if its simplest and most essential tasks: ensuring the fairness and basic functionality of the federal judiciary.
Even after yesterday's long-awaited confirmations, 99 vacancies on the federal bench remain. There are additional nominees already on the Senate calendar and more expected to be reported out of the Judiciary Committee next week. 
Please help us keep the pressure on Senate Leadership to bring these nominees to the floor without delay.
Newspapers are starting to take note of a deepening crisis plaguing the federal judiciary -- under President Obama, the Senate has refused to confirm judicial nominees at even close to the rate at which federal judges are retiring. The unprecedented political obstruction of judicial nominations over the past two years by Senate Republicans is costing countless Americans access to justice.
At the end of the last Congress, a whopping 43 judicial nominees were sent back to the president. But with the new agreement between the parties to break the logjam, we need to keep pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the president's nominees to a vote right away. The judicial crisis must be addressed, and if Republicans insist on obstructing, they should at least be forced to do so publicly. 
Send the message to Senator Reid now that Americans demand access to justice and an immediate fix to the broken judicial branch.
Even Chief Justice John Roberts has recognized the crisis and urged the Senate to move quickly and fill vacancies.
Washington Post article just today notes:
Arizona has declared a judicial emergency, extending the deadline to put defendants on trial. The three judges in Tucson, the site of last month's shooting rampage, are handling about 1,200 criminal cases apiece ...
In central Illinois, three of the four judgeships remain vacant after two of President Obama's nominees did not get a vote on the Senate floor. 
Chief Judge Michael McCuskey said he is commuting 90 miles between Urbana and Springfield and relying on two 81-year-old "senior" judges to fill the gap. "I had a heart attack six years ago, and my cardiologist told me recently, 'You need to reduce your stress,'" he said. "I told him only the U.S. Senate can reduce my stress."
There are some beneficiaries to this judicial crisis. Years-long delays in resolving civil cases like discrimination claims, corporate disputes and other lawsuits probably sit just fine with certain corporate special interests ... but ordinary Americans are paying the price. 
Join our petition now.  The recent agreement with Senate Republicans to move previously stalled and new judicial nominees is an essential first step in addressing the current vacancy crisis on the federal courts. 
I strongly urge you to take up all of the President's nominees as they are reported out of the Judiciary Committee without delay. Every day that this vacancy crisis persists is a day that countless Americans are denied access to justice and the basic protections of their fundamental rights afforded to them by a fair and functioning judicial branch.
petition button
In the coming days and weeks, we'll let you know more ways you can help keep the pressure on the Senate to move judicial nominations.
With a divided Congress and not much legislative progress expected these next two years, one thing the Senate can do is make sure we make progress on the judicial and other nominations which have been so egregiously obstructed for the last two years. Thank you for your activism and ongoing dedication to the American Way.
Diallo Brooks, Director of Field and Mobilization

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