URJ Calls for a Fair Judiciary
Over a month ago, the Senate leadership struck a bipartisan deal pledging to vote on a package of 14 judicial nominees, thereby momentarily addressing the pervasive obstructionism to judicial appointments. While this deal effectively stimulated voting on judicial vacancies, it did not even begin to address the urgent need for a real commitment to filling our nation’s benches. Judicial nominations have been subject to the worst kind of politics by placing the justice system for which we pride ourselves at risk for the purpose of partisan battles.
The judicial vacancy crisis has left 250 million Americans living in communities with unstaffed federal courtrooms hundreds of qualified nominees in limbo awaiting an up-or-down vote. Senators cannot use the end of this deal as an excuse to stop voting on nominees. Pressure must be kept up to ensure that all Americans live in a community where they can receive a swift and fair trial.
On Monday, the Union for Reform Judaism, along with 28 other national organizations, called for the end of the judicial vacancy crisis: “Together, we will continue to fight for a fair judiciary and stand with the American people to ensure they have timely access to qualified judges to hear their disputes and have their day in court.”
Jewish tradition teaches the importance of fair and impartial courts. In Exodus 18:21, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, advises him to choose capable, trustworthy, and law-abiding members of society to judge the people. Elsewhere we are taught of the ethical obligation to oppose unjust persons and unfair judgments; judges should neither “favor the poor [n]or show deference to the rich” (Leviticus 19:15). The responsibility to pursue justice extends beyond ensuring that we ourselves are behaving justly and judging fairly. We also have a responsibility to create a legal system that strives for balance and that treats all people equitably. The current obstructionism in the Senate results in an unacceptable number of judicial vacancies and prevents us from creating such a legal system.
Urge your Senators to fill judicial vacancies to restore balance to our system and enable courts to work for those they are supposed to serve.