Friday, April 19, 2013
Disappeared News: Strangling the Judiciary
by Larry Geller
Today’s paper reports the confirmation of Derrick Kahala Watson as an Article III judge (nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, as governed by Article III of the US Constitution). Federal circuit and district judges serve for life unless removed by impeachment in the Senate.
Watson has served since 2007 as assistant U.S. attorney in Hawaii. A 1984 graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Watson will be the sole Native Hawaiian serving on the federal bench and only the fourth in U.S. history when he is sworn in.
[Star-Advertiser p. B3, Watson confirmed by Senate as federal judge in Aloha State, 4/19/2013]
The article featured comments by Hawaii’s Congressional delegation.
A Courthouse News Service article adds this bit of disappeared news which indicates how the judicial branch of our government is being squeezed by the other two branches. It noted that Watson was originally nominated in November, 2012, but that the Senate refused to act on the confirmation. Obama renominated Watson in January, according to the article.
Honolulu's federal bench has four judgeships and no vacancies.
There are now 85 vacant federal judgeships, and 24 nominees on whom the Senate has failed to act.
There are 16 vacancies on U.S. Courts of Appeal, with five nominees pending; 17 nominees pending for 67 vacancies on U.S. District Courts; and two nominees pending on two vacancies on the U.S. Court of International Trade.
President Obama has not made filling the understaffed federal judiciary a priority, nor has the Senate.
[Courthouse News Service, Prosecutor Confirmed to Hawaii Federal Bench, 4/19/2013]