Tag Archives: Judicial Nominations
Man holding Torah at dawn

Beyond Cheesecake: Social Justice on Shavuot

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Americans will be honoring the lives of those lost in service to their country. This weekend is also known as the celebration of the symbolic beginning of summer (often with barbecues and white pants, sometimes a dangerous combination). And, coinciding with Memorial Day Weekend this year is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai (and cheesecake). Read more…

Districts where there are judicial emergencies

Seeking: Benchwarmers for the Federal Courts

With the impending turnover of the Senate, pundits and political commentators are looking at the lame-duck session as a preview of how Republicans and Democrats might work together in the 114th Congress. An embattled, tense session could indicate a similar working pattern in the new Congress, while a lame-duck marked by cooperation could point to a more productive term. While it’s likely that members of two parties will not reach agreement on a number of key issues in the next few weeks, one in particular stands out as a possibility for cooperation: judicial nominations. Read more…


Burwell Confirmed as Secretary of HHS

On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Sylvia Matthews Burwell as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by a bipartisan vote of 78-17. The vote puts Burwell at the helm of a complex federal department with a significant impact on the lives of all Americans. Read more…

Supreme Court

Supreme Court Roundup: What Have the Nine Been Up to?

We’re nearly halfway through a busy Supreme Court term in which many important cases ranging from affirmative action to recess appointments and from campaign finance to buffer zones at abortion clinics have been heard by the nine justices. More than ever, this term affirms the importance of the Supreme Court in adjudicating the most important social, political (and of course, constitutional!) issues of today.

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First Woman to Head Israel’s Central Bank

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu nominated Karnit Flug to be the new governor of the Bank of Israel.  Flug had been passed over twice for the position before being nominated for the position on October 20, 2013. Flug was selected as the previous Governor’s deputy, Governor Stanley Fischer, and has been acting governor of the Bank of Israel since Governor Fischer’s resignation in June (which he announced six months before his resignation).

Many people focused on the long, drawn out process of nominating a new person for the position of governor of the Bank of Israel.  While the cabinet still needs to confirm Flug in order for her to be named the new governor of the Bank of Israel, most are optimistic that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cabinet will do so.

Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of news to go along with this announcement is that, if confirmed, Flug will be the first woman to hold her position in Israel.  Flug is the most recent woman to be named to a position as the head of a central bank in past months; President Obama named Janet Yellen as his nominee for the head of the Federal Reserve and President Vladimir Putin of Russia named Elvira Nabiullina as the head of Russia’s central bank.   This is an exciting time for woman on the financial world stage!

Image courtesy of Sason Tiram/Bank of Israel via Bloomberg


Goodbye from the LAs

Today the five Eisendrath Legislative Assistants say goodbye after an amazing year representing the Union for Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C. We have worked on nearly 70 different legislative issues, represented the RAC in countless coalitions, seen some bills signed into law and others tragically defeated, said goodbye to one Congress and welcomed the next. All in all it has been an incredible year.

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Final Confirmation

As part of the deal reached in the Senate to prevent changing the rules for attaining cloture and the ability of the minority to filibuster, a number of President Obama’s nominees for various executive offices were confirmed last week. One of those is Gina McCarthy.

On Thursday the Senate voted 61-39 to confirm McCarthy as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As you may recall, a group of senators marched out of the Environment and Public Works committee hearing on her confirmation, in an effort to block her confirmation and to protest the very existence of the EPA. Her confirmation finally gives the EPA an executive who can oversee the agency, which will be primarily responsible for implementing the President’s new climate change effort.

President Obama’s proposal includes limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, the completion of overdue emissions standards for new power plants, support for energy efficiency programs, and implementation of strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change. Such programs will help ensure that those who are least responsible for climate change and who remain most vulnerable to its effects receive assistance to lessen its impact on their lives. McCarthy will be responsible for carrying out this illustrious goal. Here’s to hoping that we’ll finally start to see the implementation of world-saving policies that we so desperately need.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.



Focus on the Courts: Judicial Vacancies

Last month the Supreme Court ended its term with a flurry of landmark decisions, including overturning DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) in Windsor v. United States and substantially limited the effects and power of the Civil Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder. The Supreme Court may be the highest court in the land, but there are other layers of the federal judicial system that play equally powerful roles: Circuit Courts and District Courts. Filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court is very public news that catches the attention of most Americans, and vacancies are never left open for very long. However, vacancies on these lower courts often remain under the radar of the general public (including, until last week, me!).

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