The Why Courts Matter – PA coalition is a project of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. They are the recipients of a grant from the Center for American Progress that cover the staffing and work of the coalition.
The focus of the long-standing coalition is to ensure that the federal judiciary represents America’s diverse population and ends the judicial vacancy crisis so that every American can have his or her day in court. Members of this coalition — from attorney groups like the National Employment Lawyers to advocacy groups like People for the American Way — understand that federal court decisions impact every aspect of our lives: employment, the environment, immigration, religious freedom, privacy, education, voting rights, and more.
Pennsylvania has the second most judicial vacancies of any state in the country. Every day that a seat on our nation’s federal court remains vacant, it is harder for ordinary Americans to have access to the courts. But currently, judicial seats are vacant because of unprecedented obstruction in Washington. President Obama’s judicial nominees have been waiting far longer for a vote than other presidents’ nominees. The result is a backlog of cases that undermines our system of justice and makes it difficult for most Americans to have their cases heard in a timely manner. The holds on President Obama’s judicial nominees threaten the legacy of a more diverse and fair federal court for decades to come.
The Senate must fulfill its Constitutional duty to get the courts running at full capacity. Judicial nominees deserve a simple yes or no vote. It is time to put aside the partisan bickering, get rid of the anonymous ‘holds’ that Senators can place on a judicial appointment, and fill these critical vacancies so Americans can have their voice heard in court.