About the Committee for a Fair Judiciary

The Committee for a Fair Judiciary, a 501(c)(4) organization, fills a unique niche in the battle to assure the nomination and confirmation of qualified judges to the federal bench. It focuses on the roles and responsibilities of United States Senators in the judicial selection process. It seeks to educate the public, and Senators themselves, about how this highly political process actually works and about how it can be made to work better.

Under our current political system, Senators do far more than passively “advise and consent” to judicial nominations made by the President. Senators from the President’s party provide the President with a list of potential nominees for District Court and Circuit Court vacancies in their states. The President must generally select a nominee from this list because, under Senate Rules, Senators can effectively veto any nominee not on their list. In states where there are no Senators from the President’s party, House Members from the President’s party typically provide the list of potential nominees.

In compiling their lists of potential nominees, Senators or House Members inevitably face enormous pressures from competing constituencies and political figures. But despite these pressures, it is crucial that Senators or House Members choose candidates expeditiously and make certain that the candidates have strong credentials and progressive values. If, as is common, Senators or House Members utilize local committees to recommend candidates, they must ride herd over the committees and not them let them become a roadblock.

Most Senators are diligent in working to obtain confirmation of nominees they have recommended. But there is a compelling need to have a few Senators who are willing to play a significantly broader role in the judicial selection process. These Senators would make it a priority to urge that their colleagues propose strong nominees and do so expeditiously, that the President select nominees expeditiously, and that the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate approve nominees expeditiously. If confronting a President from another party, these Senators would urge that President to choose mainstream nominees and would not hesitate to organize the opposition to unacceptable nominees. In short, these Senators would be the champions for a fair judiciary.

The Committee for a Fair Judiciary works closely with many like-minded organizations that fight for a progressive judiciary, such as Courts Matter and Legal Progress. Unlike those organizations, however, the Committee does not analyze court decisions or support or oppose the selection or confirmation of individual judicial nominees. Its purpose is make the judicial selection process more transparent and to ensure that key actors in the process – especially United States Senators – understand and fulfill their constitutional and political responsibilities.

Want to get involved? Contact Jennifer Swanson or James Colligan for more information on how you can be a part of our work. We are grateful for your donations, as well, which can be made by clicking here.