University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Tobias Wolff and six other Pennsylvania legal and grassroots leaders will travel to Washington on Monday, May 7, to meet with White House officials about the vacancy crisis in America’s federal courts, including six vacancies and two “emergency” vacancies in Pennsylvania. Nearly one out of every ten federal judgeships remains vacant, and more than 250 million Americans live in a community with a courtroom vacancy.
The Pennsylvanians traveling to Washington along with Wolff are:
- William Ewing, National Employment Lawyers Association
- Jodi Hirsh, Pennsylvania Coordinator, People For the American Way
- Eleanor Levie, Advocacy Chair, National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Philadelphia Section
- Christine Stone, Board Member and Pennsylvania Public Affairs Chair, National Council of Jewish Women and Chair, Pennsylvania Coalition for Constitutional Values
- Stella Tsai, Partner, Archer & Greiner, P.C.
- Twanda Turner-Hawkins, Vice President, National Bar Association
They will join 150 advocates from 27 states in a day of discussions with White House staff. A deal between Senate Republicans and Democrats to allow judicial nominations to proceed in the Senate expires May 7th, and the advocates are urging the Senate to hold final up-or-down votes on all pending nominees.
After the White House meeting, the advocates will visit the offices of key senators, including Senators Casey and Toomey, to urge them to work to end the delays that have plagued the Senate confirmation process since the beginning of the Obama presidency.
Despite the delays, the overwhelming majority of Obama’s nominees have garnered tremendous bipartisan support, such as Cathy Bissoon, Mark Hornak and Robert Mariani, who were confirmed to seats in Pennsylvania district courts by large bipartisan majorities in October.
The Pennsylvania delegation will also urge Senators Casey and Toomey to quickly recommend to the president nominees for Pennsylvania’s empty seats. They hope their conversations in Washington will help national leaders understand how harmful the confirmation delays have been to Americans who are seeking justice.