On Jan. 8, the Post-Gazette editorial board wrote, “The legislators, who are paid by the public, need to do their jobs. For senators, an important part of that is to act on presidential nominations” (“Congress Returns”).
One of the most important ways senators can show they are willing to get things done is by filling the numerous judicial vacancies on the federal bench. Federal courts rule on cases that directly impact our lives on issues like pollution, immigration, equal rights and more. Locally, there are three long-standing Western District of Pennsylvania vacancies for which Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey should recommend nominees right away.
But good nominees with bipartisan support are already waiting for confirmation. One example is U.S. District Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo, who has been nominated and now renominated by President Barack Obama to join the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Sen. Toomey made public his support for Judge Restrepo, saying he would be a “superb” federal judge. Sen. Casey also called Judge Restrepo an “excellent choice.”
Not only is Judge Restrepo qualified, but also he brings much-needed diversity to the bench. He was born in Colombia, became a citizen in 1993 and got a degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He’s been a public defender in Philadelphia and is universally respected.
A diverse federal bench improves the quality of justice and instills confidence that judges understand the real-world implications of their decisions. Judges like Mr. Restrepo are waiting for the Senate to act on their nominations, and, as the PG editorial board says, “The legislators, who are paid by the public, need to do their jobs.”
Keystone Progress Education