Tuesday, February 7, 2023 -
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Time for President Bush to nominate judges

Under the best of circumstances, legal proceedings take time. Patience is required no matter what side of the table one is on. It is incumbent upon all concerned to do their best to ensure timely trials and proceedings. Usually, “all concerned” are the plaintiffs, defendants, attorneys and judges. But not always.

And not now, not in Colorado, anyway. When judges die — as the beloved Judge Phil Figa did recently — or when judges retire or take senior status — as two Colorado federal judges recently announced — politicians determine the speed of justice.

Under our system of government, the president of the US nominates federal judges and the Congress approves or disapproves them. (Added wrinkle: the FBI checks their security clearance.) And even before all this, it is customary for a state’s senators to recommend candidates to the president.

With a potentially devastating loss of three judges (out of seven) on Colorado’s US District Court, Colorado’s two senators recommended many qualified candidates to the president — Sen. Salazar six weeks ago and Sen. Allard six months ago. Based on independent vetting procedures, both senators agreed on two candidates: CU Counsel Christine Arguello and Greg Goldberg, a former Colorado district attorney now in private practice at Holland and Hart. (Full disclosure, Goldberg is a close relative of the IJN Goldbergs.)

The Rocky Mountain News last week urged the White House to forward these two names to the US Senate’s Judiciary Committee. The Denver Post did the same this week. The Faculty of Federal Advocates weighed in with the same recommendation. The reason is clear: A court cannot administer justice with three of seven judges missing in action.

Justice should take precedence over politics. Perhaps, Democrats in the Senate desire to wait until a better day, when they believe they will get all three candidates they want under Democratic presidency, which they predict for next year; or, perhaps, Republicans in the White House desire to wait for the same reason, only in reverse. Either way, it’s bad for Colorado and bad for justice.

Remember, the White House can forward three names, not just two, to the Senate, and not necessarily even the two whom Allard and Salazar have agreed on. However, the senators’ bipartisan agreement on two candidates does auger well for confirmation. The White House should listen to the signal and forward their names to the Senate, which should “advise and consent.”

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