Norton Comments on Judicial Nominees, Fudge Drills The Hill

Norton Comments on Judicial Nominees, Fudge Drills The Hill

In a statement released this morning. Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton both commented on a meeting between members of the Caucus and White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett.  Fudge called out The Hill newspaper in her statement (seen below) regarding this story posted last night.

Between last night and noon today, The Hill changed the headline to the story from Feud escalates between Obama, black lawmakers on judicial picks to CBC dislikes Jarrett’s message.  Fudge’s and Norton’s full statements are below:


Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge and CBC Judicial Nominations Working Group Co-Chair Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton released the following joint statement on the meeting with Valarie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President:

CBC Chair Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11):

“The depiction of the meeting between Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Valarie Jarrett on the front page of today’s edition of The Hill is dishonest and misleading. Members of the CBC have always believed, as has the fudge1President, that there should be diversity on the federal bench, and yesterday’s meeting with Valarie Jarrett assuaged our concerns. There is no feud between Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Obama Administration, nor did we “dislike” Valerie Jarrett’s message as reported by The Hill.

“It is clear The Hill believes Members of the CBC should not be allowed to disagree or voice their opinion without it turning into a “fight” or a “feud” or “going after” the Administration. With its sensational headlines and by weaving together a false narrative about conversations that take place, The Hill continues to mischaracterize the Congressional Black Caucus and its work. The Hill has consistently created an adversarial relationship between Members of the CBC and the Administration without attribution to facts and without acknowledgement to leadership within the CBC. It is a disservice to its readers and to this Congressional body.”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC):

“The Congressional Black Caucus appreciates that the Administration sent high level officials to meet with the CBC Judicial Nominations Working Group.  The CBC continues to applaud the Administration’s record in appointing more African American judges to the bench than any president in U.S. history.  The meeting afforded us an opportunity for a candid exchange on judicial nominees, including detailing our specific concerns and offering suggestions for working more closely with the CBC to ensure both the nomination and the confirmation of more African American judges.  Our Judges1most recent focus has been on the 11th Circuit because of the specific concerns of our members from Alabama, Florida and Georgia, because of the large number of vacancies and pending nominations in that circuit, and because the 11th Circuit has the highest number of African Americans of any circuit.  All three 11th Circuit states offer openings that should be filled with African American nominees.  Alabama has two vacancies, Florida has four, and Georgia has three.

“During the meeting, we reiterated what we have always said – our focus has never been on the Administration alone.  With the filibuster reform breakthrough, which was a high priority of the CBC, we see the opportunity to quickly fill the unusually high number of federal judicial vacancies.  We know that the historic filibuster reform is being countermanded in some cases, as the blue slip process is being used to keep qualified African American nominees from being nominated or moving forward.  We are holding the Senators, in this case, the Republican Senators of the 11th Circuit – Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and John Isakson (R-GA) – equally responsible if African Americans the Administration desires cannot be nominated or are nominated by the Administration and are then unfairly held up with use of the blue slip system.  We intend to not only hold the Senators responsible, but to inform their constituents in the 11th Circuit, and other circuits, who are dependent on them – and us – to ensure the fair appointment of judges.

“The CBC recognizes that Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has worked very hard to get the Administration’s nominees through his committee and to the floor.  In light of the use of the blue slip that is thwarting his work, we are seeking a meeting with Senator Leahy to discuss the current blue slip process in the Judiciary Committee and what can be done to see that this process is not used to veto the Administration’s nominations.”