Nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 28, 2018
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Judicial Branch


Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, finally, one final word on a pending judicial nomination, Marvin Quattlebaum. First, for the benefit of the Senate, I would like to note that the only reason the current nomination is up, the nomination of Quattlebaum is up is because the two Republican Senators from South Carolina refused to return a blue slip for two judges nominated for the same vacancy by President Obama. Their right as the home State Senators to not return a blue slip was respected by the Democratic majority, Chairman Leahy, in 2013, unlike the Republican majority, which has already ignored the blue slip precedent and confirmed a circuit judge without the approval of both home State Senators. I want my colleagues on the other side to remember that their blue slips were respected during the Obama administration and to think long and hard about continuing to ignore them now that their party is in the White House.

Second, the nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump's selection for the Federal judiciary. Mr. Quattlebaum replaces not one but two scuttled Obama nominees who were African American. As of February 14, 83 percent of President Trump's confirmed nominees were male; 92 percent were White. That represents the lowest share of non-White candidates in three decades.

It is long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents. Having a diversity of views and experience on the Federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice. After years of improvement, the Trump administration, as in so many other areas, is taking a giant step backward--this time, when it comes to the diversity of their nominations. I will be voting no on the Quattlebaum nomination.