Washington March 30, 2018 – Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement on the death of Judge Stephen Reinhardt and three California vacancies on the Ninth Circuit:

“Judge Reinhardt for decades has been one of the loudest voices for equality for all under the law and he will be dearly missed. He was truly an effective judge.

“There are now three California vacancies on the Ninth Circuit, one of which is open only because Leader McConnell blocked a nominee in 2016.

“President Trump’s most troubling and legally suspect policies have been challenged in federal courts, and many of these cases are being heard in California. It’s no secret that President Trump and Republicans want to reshape the Ninth Circuit and we will not accept unwarranted, partisan attacks on our courts.

“I am fully committed to ensuring that Ninth Circuit nominees reflect our state’s communities and values and are well-regarded by their local bench and bar. I’ve long used bipartisan screening committees in each California judicial district to evaluate potential candidates who I then recommend to the White House. The committees are comprised of the state’s top lawyers, including former state and federal judges and prosecutors.

“The screening process works. It has produced highly-qualified, mainstream candidates including John Owens and Jacqueline Nguyen, who both now serve on the Ninth Circuit. During this administration, my committees reviewed and signed off on U.S. attorney nominees for the Eastern and Central districts. While the screening process is ongoing, I expect we will be able to continue our work and will have well-qualified candidates to recommend to the White House in the near future.”