Currently, the only pending court of appeals nominee on the Senate calendar is Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, a nominee to the Third Circuit who just two years ago was unanimously confirmed as a trial court judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Both Restrepo’s fitness to serve and the pressing need for swift confirmation are plain. In addition to his judicial experience and prior Senate approval, Restrepo had an esteemed career as a practicing lawyer that included time as a public defender—a qualification so rare among circuit court judges that he would be the first ever former public defender on the Third Circuit. Restrepo also has bipartisan support, as his appointment was jointly recommended by both Pennsylvania senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey. The vacancy itself is considered a “judicial emergency” and has been left empty for over two years. In other words, there is no rational reason not to confirm Judge Restrepo immediately.
Yet, as of today, Restrepo’s nomination has been pending for an entire calendar year, and there’s no indication from Senate GOP leadership that a confirmation vote is imminent. Read more