This vote was on the confirmation of Mary Geiger Lewis’ appointment to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.
President Obama nominated Lewis for appointment to the court in March 2011, but a vote on her confirmation was delayed as part of a larger disagreement over nominations between Senate Republicans and the White House. Although Senate Republicans were in the minority, they had enough members to use Senate rules to delay nominations indefinitely, and they had used this power to block many of President Obama’s nominations.
Supporters of Lewis’ appointment argued that she had impressive credentials that proved she would be an excellent judge.
“The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary unanimously rated Ms. Lewis ‘qualified’ to serve on the district court. I support Ms. Lewis and hope she will be confirmed,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said. “I also hope that Senate Republicans will reconsider their wrongheaded move to shut down the confirmation of consensus, well-qualified circuit court nominees. Given our overburdened federal courts and the need to provide all Americans with prompt justice, we should all be working in a bipartisan fashion to confirm these nominees.”
Opponents of Lewis’ appointment argued that she did not have enough experience for the job.
“Ms. Lewis has limited courtroom experience and little criminal law experience,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) said. “Her responses in her questionnaire and hearing regarding her legal experience indicated her significant cases were handled more than 10 years ago and was more of a team effort than individual experience. At her hearing she was not prepared to discuss the legal principles involved in a case her firm took to the Supreme Court. For these reasons and others, I will vote nay on this nomination and urge my colleagues to do likewise.”
The Senate confirmed Lewis’ appointment by a vote of 64-27. Voting “yea” were 50 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 27 Republicans. As a result, Mary Geiger Lewis’ appointment to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina was confirmed.